By Hedwig Kröner in La Toussuire
One of Lance Armstrong's best domestiques, George Hincapie, had hoped to perform well during this year's Tour de France, the first he was to race without his charismatic leader. The time seemed right for the New Yorker to step out of shadow of the seven-times Tour de France winner, and he was even hailed as possible candidate for the overall classification within his Discovery Channel team.
However, the 2006 Tour de France turned out quite differently for Hincapie - losing precious minutes in the first time trial around Rennes after one week of racing, the 32 year-old was also unable to find his rhythm in the mountains. Speaking to Cyclingnews at the start of the second Alpine mountain stage in Bourg d'Oisans, the American was looking forward to arriving in Paris this Sunday.
"I just don't feel good," Hincapie said. "I'm healthy, but I just can't go right now. I'll be glad when the Tour's over. Sometimes you don't have an explanation. I trained alright; and I arrived in the Tour in great shape. There's not much else I could do."