Hincapie changes personality for Paris-Roubaix
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hincapie changes personality for Paris-Roubaix

by Bjorn Haake at 2:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix
 

BMC Racing’s George Hincapie is among a rare breed of cyclists that relish the opportunity to take in the heavy dose of pavé that this weekend's Paris-Roubaix will dish out. The American has finished top ten in the "Hell of the North" seven times, and this season looks to have timed his form perfectly for Sunday.

After his sixth place in Flanders he is certainly ready. "I feel really good," he says a day before Paris-Roubaix in an interview on the BMC website. "Wednesday I felt OK in the race we did in Belgium [Scheldeprijs]. I took it easy and recovered well [from Flanders]."

He knows that on the cobbles, not always the strongest wins. "I need some good luck, but my form is definitely there." Besides luck, there is also a certain attitude that the riders need and it doesn't quite fit the Mr. Nice Guy image of Hincapie. "I definitely change my personality. In the race, when you are battling for positions on the cobble stones, I don't have any friends."

He will only look out for teammates and says such egoism is necessary. "In these races if you want to be in the front, you cannot be a nice guy." A long race like Paris-Roubaix may still start out in a chatty mood for the favorites. "I change about a kilometer from the first cobble stone section," Hincapie jokes.

A win in Roubaix makes the perfect career

He always had a special relationship with this race in northern France. "It's the fact that it is so hard and epic. It is almost not a bike race, but a battle. There is so much that goes on in this race that the fans don't even see or is hard to describe."

But he knows that the onlookers get as much excitement out of the experience as the racers. "It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest one-day race in the world and the hardest as well. I have done it so many times and I have always dreamed of winning it."

Which would certainly make his day. "If you win one Paris-Roubaix you can always look back and say you had a perfect career!" He is quick to point out that a win on Sunday would not mean he'd quit racing right away. "But it would make stopping a lot easier in the future," he adds with a smile.

Hincapie turned professional in 1994 and most races don't get him all worked up anymore. "There are only a handful of races that I get nervous about and Paris-Roubaix and Flanders are definitely among them."

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