Big George Earns His First TdF Stage!

July 17, 2005


Today’s stage in the Tour de France will be one for many people’s memories. At the beginning of the day, Lance was comfortably in yellow. By the end of the day, Lance further consolidated his lead. At the beginning of the day, Discovery was licking its wounds from a challenging first day in the Pyrennes. By the end of the day, Discovery showed why they are the team that can win the Tour de France. At the beginning of the day, George Hincapie had never won a stage of the Tour de France. By the end of the day, George had won the queen stage of this year’s Tour. And there was no one who was happier about it than Lance Armstrong.

After only a few kilometers from the beginning of the race, George took off to join a mountain escape. This was not part of Johan’s plan. But it worked out perfectly for Discovery. With a strong compatriot in the break, Lance could trust that George would contain any serious threats from the other breakaway participants. Moreover, if Lance and crew caught up with the escape, Lance would have another teammate he could count on in the final ascent to Pla d’Adet. And best of all, George might actually win!

Well, that’s exactly what happened. George took part in the break, but he never supported it. He gained the time advantage of the break, but he never worked to extend it. In the end, George was left with fresh legs in the last few kilometers. And he took advantage of it. With a few hundred meters left, George unleased an attack on Oscar Pereiro. In a very short distance, George was able to put a six second gap on his closest rival.

So George has won his first ever stage of the Tour! After working with Lance for more than ten years, George has finally earned a solo stage win! And to top it off, George was able to salute his former teammate (Fabio Casartelli) who died in a crash exactly ten years ago today. Most folks thought Lance would win this for Fabio. But I am so excited that George won it. After all, Fabio beat George out for the right to ride that fateful Tour in 1995. This win is a fitting salute to Fabio’s memory.



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