Cycling News

George Hincapie: ‘To win Paris-Roubaix, you can’t have friends’

George Hincapie: ‘To win Paris-Roubaix, you can't have friends’

Sunday is Paris-Roubaix, undoubtedly one of the hardest Classics of the season. In his long career, former pro cyclist George Hincapie always made it a big goal to win every season. He came close as well–finishing second twice, as well as being in the top-ten several times. (The results have since been annulled.)

After Mathieu van der Poel’s win at Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, Hincapie, like most analysts, think the Dutchman is the man to beat. He was impressed with the world champion’s attack up the Koppenberg–in the wet many riders had to walk up it. When Hincapie was third at Flanders, it was also wet and he said it was tough to ride the whole way, but he did–as opposed to second place finisher and teammate Leif Hoste who was forced to walk.

“For me of course it was about having the power to ride up, but it’s also about the right line and avoiding traffic,” He said. But he also says it’s quite different now with the gear available to pros. “I rode up it last year in the wet and it was totally fine. Nowadays, it’s a totally different ball game,” he adds. “I mean you’re obviously in a peloton so if a guy stops in front of you have to walk. But now you have 36 x 30 gears and big tires which helps.”

Then versus now

Hincapie watches all the big races and says that some of the style of racing has definitely changed.

“In my day, the early attack was more of a TV attack breakaway. Get ahead, and get some exposure,” he said. “Now the early attacks are a bit more dangerous or you’ll see some really good riders going, especially with like 100 km.”

The aggressive style of racing significantly intensifies the competition, especially considering the harsh weather conditions at Flanders, making it exceptionally challenging. Van der Poel himself said he was totally empty after the day, as it was so brutally hard. In fact, there was an early move with Mads Pedersen, who immediately launched from a lead group after MvdP bridged, but would end up fading.

Saving matches for the finale

When he was ultimately caught, he didn’t have much left in the tank. Afterwards he said it may not have been the best move. “”If we’re going to use hindsight, I shouldn’t have done it, but it wouldn’t have been a top result today anyway,” Pedersen said after. “I took the chance and tried, but I wasn’t close.”

Hincapie also wondered about the early attack. “He attacked as soon as Van der Poel caught them, but maybe he had…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…