Promises, Promises

There’s a story this morning on VeloNews that helped ring in the day with a chuckle. That’s, of course, assuming that finding my son wrapping an old PlayStation controller around the dog’s head and getting ready to lead him around wasn’t funny enough. (Well, it was and it wasn’t.)

The story on VeloNews was an interview with George Hincapie, centering on BMC’s ambitions for Paris-Roubaix. The first sentence:

George Hincapie vows to help his new BMC teammate Thor Hushovd at Paris-Roubaix and seems to have thrown in the towel on his own dreams of winning the Hell of the North.

“Hincapie vows to help his new teammate … .” One would hope so, don’t you think? Isn’t that kind of the point of having teammates? For help? Besides, what else would Hincapie do?

He is 38, and with the exception of one year (2005, when he was second) wasn’t ever a threat to actually win Paris-Roubaix. While I can appreciate his pursuit of the race like a crazed sea captain seeking his white whale, it’s long past time for him to give up the dream. (Much like I’ve long since given up  hopes of following in my uncle’s steps and being the World UNO Champion. Damn Draw Fours.)

At the risk of enraging the George Hincapie fan club, which may or may not be similar to enraging the fatbike community, I have to ask this question: How, exactly, did Hincapie gain rock-star status, anyway? Because, other than Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Missouri, a couple of national championships against second-tier pros, what’s he won?

Seriously. Is it the eternal Paris-Roubaix struggle? Is he the lovable sidekick, playing the right-hand man to Lance Armstrong, then Mark Cavendish, and now Cadel Evans and Thor Hushovd? As a racer, he’s one notch ahead of Levi Leipheimer in the excitement category, which is setting the bar very low. And personality-wise, he doesn’t have a ton of charisma — he says the right things and smiles a lot.

There has to be more to it than that. If you have any theories, lay ‘em on me.

If you’ve been following the Le Tour de Langkawi — and I know you have — you’ve been wowed by Jose Serpa of the Androni Giocattoli Venezuela team. He not only climbs magnificently, he has easily the most well-maintained facial hair in the peloton.

Look at that guy! Curly, jet-black hair, sideburns that look painted on, a trim goatee. Well done, Mr. Serpa. He looks like Marco Pantoni, except with hair — lots of it. And hopefully without the cocaine problem. And the being dead problem.

New Shimano Dura-Ace is coming soon(ish). Team Sky’s Alex Dowsett had a prototype DA 9000 group on his bike last week in Belgium. For better or worse, it looks like if you’re a Dura-Ace rider, you’re going to 11 speeds at some point in the future. Because I wasn’t riding when the 9/10 switch happened (I was running lots then), I missed out on the retro-grouch rumbling.

This time, I fully look forward to participating, mostly because I don’t want to change my stuff. I’ll be the guy who tapes together his 10-speed groups until they disintegrate. Eventually, I know I’ll have to switch over. But I’m going to resist as long as possible.

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