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Hincapie delights fans as he retires on top in Denver

August 27, 2012

George Hincapie blows double kiss to fans from the USA Pro Challenge stage

It became an annual event. Each April cycling fans crossed their fingers and toes so George Hincapie would stand on the top step of the podium for the race he most wanted to win.

Hincapie never did win Paris-Roubaix during during his 19 years as a professional cyclist. But yesterday in downtown Denver he ended his career as number one, once and for all. Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett called it.

George Hincapie, the winner

From the final winner’s stage of the seven-day USA Pro Challenge, Liggett called up Hincapie. “Let’s hear a great Colorado welcome for the last time, George Hincapie!”

Hincapie blew a two handed kiss to a cheering crowd of thousands as he stepped on stage.

Number one in cycling fans’ hearts for more reasons than his record 17 Tour de France appearances, George hopped onto the top step of the podium and received two large framed pieces of art commemorating his cycling career.

Then Liggett said, “It’s over to you, the winner today,” and Hincapie took the microphone.

“Thank you. I hadn’t been very emotional this week but during the time trial I really felt emotion from the crowd and this is what got me through the last several years is this sort of support from all of you. I’m so happy that I chose Denver to be my last race ever and thank you…” The crowd replied with a “you’re welcome” of thundering cheers that drowned out the end of his sentence.

George Hincapie kisses wife Melanie during retirement celebration at the USA Pro Challenge

When Liggett asked Hincapie to name his favorite memory from his career, he said without a moment’s hesitation, “That’s easy. This lady right here giving me a lion in the Tour de France in Paris and I asked her to marry me a year later.”

His wife Melanie joined Hincapie on the podium. As they looked in each other’s eyes it was clear he had spoken the absolute truth.

George and Melanie Hincapie

Hincapie ended the special celebration with these words: “Cycling in general has brought me everything, so I’m very much appreciative for one of the most amazing, beautiful sports in the world and I’m glad that you all feel the same way.”

George Hincapie hugs Paul Sherwen, who called Hincapie “one of the greatest champions”

One Comment
  1. What a beautiful post. Truly one of your best ever! Our DVR didn’t record

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