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Hincapie to captain Team Columbia at Tour de France

George Hincapie (High Road)

George Hincapie (High Road) (Image credit: Jon Devich)

George Hincapie will lead Team Columbia for the 2008 Tour de France. The former Team High Road is sending nine riders from eight countries and five riders under age 25.

Hincapie, a veteran of 12 Tours, will serve as road captain and tactical leader on the bike during the race, but the team also consists of a solid lead-out group with the likes of Marcus Burghardt and Bernhard Eisel to support young sprinters Mark Cavendish and Gerald Ciolek. Cavendish has won seven major races in 2008, including two stages in the Giro d'Italia, and will make his second start at the Tour. Ciolek will make his Tour de France debut after winning three stages in the tour of Germany last year.

Support for Kim Kirchen in the mountains will come from Hincapie, Kanstantsin Siutsou, who won the overall title at the Tour de Georgia this year, and Thomas Lövkvist, who finished fifth overall in the Tour de Suisse last week.

"We plan to be competitive in every stage without losing the focus on the support for Kirchen in the general classification," said Team Director Rolf Aldag. "This team is able to exploit and dictate the tactics on some stages."

"The team has been on a big wave of success this year," said owner Bob Stapleton, "and we bring confidence, team work and good spirit into the Tour. It was difficult to select the Tour de France team because so many of riders deserved a spot."

Team Columbia for Tour de France: Kim Kirchen, George Hincapie Thomas Lövkvist, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Mark Cavendish, Gerald Ciolek, Germany, Adam Hansen, Marcus Burghardt and Bernhard Eisel.

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