I'm a big Tour de France fan, as some of you know. I cheer out-loud at my TV when Lance Armstrong is taking on the mountains and Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso and the rest. But today was a special day for someone else, another American rider on Lance's team.
Long time teammate of Lance, George Hincapie, was on an early breakaway at the front of the race. He was in a group of 14 riders, and then some dropped off in the mountains, and then more dropped. Finally George and Oscar Pereiro (Team Phonak) were left alone for the last few kilometers. George out sprinted Pereiro for the win in today's stage, which was considered the hardest stage of this year's TdF.
Hincapie is known as the lieutenant of Armstrong, not someone trying to win a stage. He races to win in classics, which are one day races held in the spring. During the Tour his job is to help Lance stay protected and toward the front of the peloton (the peloton is the main group of riders). He basically does a lot of hard racing every July just to prepare Lance for victory. But because Lance was doing fine in the overall TdF standings (he will likely win now) and because George had a chance to try to win, the team told him to go for it.
It was a great day for Hincapie, for American cycling fans, and for anyone who has any idea how hard Hincapie works for the success of someone else. It was George's day, and I was glad to experience it.