George Hincapie (BMC Racing) crashed out of stage two of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Wednesday. The US Pro Road Champion went down midway through the 125-kilometre stage from Thanksgiving Point to the top of Mt. Nebo and was transported by a rescue squad to a nearby hospital to receive medical attention.
BMC's press agent Sean Weide confirmed that Hincapie was cleared of any broken bones, and will be looked over by the team physician Max Testa before a report is issued on the extent of his injuries. Weide said that Hincapie was conscious and alert when he described hitting some gravel on a twisty section of the course and crashing.
Hincapie was using the six-stage race to prepare for bigger events down the road. He is targeting strong performances at the two ProTour races held on September 10 in Quebec City and September 12 in Montreal along with the defense of the stars and stripes jersey in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina on September 18-19.
Cyclingnews spoke to Hincapie this morning about how he came to the decision to race in Utah, a race in which he had previously never competed.
"We had a break between the Tour de France and the Canadian races and I didn't really want to go back over to Europe to get a couple of races in. This seemed like a good time to race two and half weeks after the Tour de France, to try to get some fitness for the Canadian ProTour races and the National Championships," Hincapie said before the start of stage two at the Tour of Utah.
Hincapie was competing in the Tour of Utah in support of his teammate and former overall winner Jeff Louder and prologue specialist Brent Bookwalter.
"This race is great and it's always nice to do a race in the United States," Hincapie said. "It seems like this race has been growing every year with tough courses, at altitude and it is definitely not an easy race, it's a difficult race. I hope that I can help the guys out like Brent and Jeff in the overall.
"We've done a couple of functions for the team and people have been very enthusiastic about our team being here and we love supporting races in the US."
Hincapie was one of the highlights for the fans at the opening prologue on Tuesday. He rode the 4.48km time trial in a time of 6:18, good enough for eight place. The race took a turn up toward the mountains in stage one where he placed eighth yesterday.
"The prologue was the first time that I rode hard since the Tour de France and that hurt like hell," Hincapie said this morning.
Provided he is not seriously injured, Hincapie will follow the Tour of Utah with a trip up to the province of Quebec in Canada to participate in the first two ProTour races to hit North America at the Quebec City and Montreal Grand Prix.
Both circuits hold prominent history in Canadian professional racing with the circuit in Quebec City a version of the Canadian National Championships and a stage of the Tour de Beauce. The Montreal course is a similar version to a former World Cup for men held in the 1980s-90s.
"I haven't raced on those courses before, I have heard a lot about them but I have no personal experiences with them," Hincapie said. "I need to study up on them when I get back from this race. They are important for me, and it is ProTour for the team and we are always looking for points. Being able to race in North America at such a big venue and that is special."
Hincapie will likely end his season at the US Pro Road Championships held in Greenville, South Carolina on September 18-19.
"I'm excited about racing in my home town again and I'm excited about having a team this year for the first time ever," Hincapie said. "It would be great if I could win again but I would be just as happy if one of my guys is able to win because it would be nice if we could keep the jersey in the team."
When asked if he has given thought to how many more years he will compete in professional road cycling, Hincapie said. "I think one more year and then probably that's it after that. I've been doing this for a long time and I want to spend more time with my family."