George Hincapie (BMC) won the queen stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Aspen, Colorado today, notching his first victory in nearly two years. The 38-year-old American's last win came in the US professional championship in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina and Hincapie spoke of how the 209.8km stage from Gunnison to Aspen fits into his current mindset.
"These days, for me, it is all about motivation," said Hincapie. "It is either about motivation or I'm working for the team. Right now the biggest things that motivate me are the Classics, I haven't won but I am always up there, the Tour de France, where I do a good job working for Cadel [Evans], national championships and a big race like this race here is important. It is a first time event and it is bringing cycling to a new market that hasn't seen cycling for a long time. You see the fans out there, it was very motivating and I am happy that I was able to win in Aspen, in such a beautiful city with my hands in the air."
Hincapie pulled double duty on the stage to Aspen, as he worked tirelessly for team captain and Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, and then pulled off the stage win when the opportunity arose.
"On the climb up Independence I was going my pace and hanging on to the group of 15 or 20 guys, with pretty much everything I had to make it in that front group. I helped Cadel come back up to the group with Levi [Leipheimer], Christian [Vande Velde] and two other guys. I saw a couple of guys go and I decided to try and bridge up to them. I bridged up to them for a bit, which was [Tom] Danielson, a Colombian guy, Tejay [Van Garderen] and other guys came across.
"Once I saw Tejay come across I knew that he and Tom were really going to go for the GC. I was able to sit back a bit in the last three, four kilometres and knew I had a great shot to win the stage."
Going into the tomorrow's 16.1km time trial in Vail, Hincapie finds himself in second on general classification, 16 seconds down on new race leader Tejay Van Garderen. For Hincapie it was an unexpected position to be in, but he's now focused on preserving his high GC position.
"I don't know the time trial, I know that it's partly uphill and it depends on how the wind is," said Hincapie. "I could do a decent ride, I'm not going to just throw in the towel. Cadel is pretty close, too, and obviously he's had some good time trials in the last two months.
"Being so high up in the overall, I will definitely give it everything I have. I didn't come in here with the intention of going for the overall, I wanted to win a stage. Being that I am in good position now, I will try and stay as high up in the overall as possible.