George Hincapie proud of record-tying 16th Tour — and may be back for a 17th

George Hincapie is proud of his record-tying 16 Tours and having played a role in nine victories.

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2011 Tour de France, stage 21, George Hincapie
George Hincapie is proud of helping champions to nine wins during 16 Tours — and might just come back next year for No. 17. Photo: Brian Holcombe

PARIS (VN) — George Hincapie led the peloton onto the Champs-Élysées as the veteran American finished his record-tying 16th Tour de France and helped steer the winner to the top spot on the podium for a ninth time.

Hincapie was part of Lance Armstrong’s seven winning teams as well as Alberto Contador’s victory in 2007. With Cadel Evans claiming the maillot jaune on Sunday, Hincapie said he takes special pride in the role he’s played in Tour history.

“I am very proud of it,” Hincapie told Australian journalist Rupert Guinness. “It’s such a hard event, and when you have somebody who can win, you always have to do the little things that people don’t see. To make it through nine is a very special feat.”

Hincapie, 38, tied the record mark of 16 Tours held by Joop Zootemelk. The Dutch veteran finished all 16 Tours while Hincapie did not finish one of his.

Hincapie said he takes more pride in helping others win the Tour. He played a key role in protecting Evans through the crash-filled first week and then helped pace him through decisive transition stages between the Pyrénées and the Alps.

“It’s a really good feeling to come through number nine,” he said. “I had goosebumps all over. Coming onto the Champs like that was amazing. The thing is so hard, so stressful, it takes a lot out of you. But it’s all worth it when you get here.”

After another successful ride to Paris, the veteran hinted he might be back for one more Tour.

“I believe that if I am strong as I was this year, if I am healthy, I believe that I played a key role, I would definitely do another one,” he said.

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