Any cyclist hoping to win the Tour de France sure seems to benefit from having American rider George Hincapie on his team.
With Cadel Evans victory in this years Tour, Hincapie now has been a part of nine winning teams. He helped Lance Armstrong to all seven of his victories, and he was on Alberto Contadors team when the Spaniard won the first of his three Tours in 2007.
I do have a lot of experience, and the Tour de France is so dangerous and stressful, its important to know how to position yourself well in the peloton and not lose valuable seconds through a crash or a split in the peloton, Hincapie told The Associated Press on Saturday. Thats one of my expertises, to keep Cadel away from those.
The 38-year-old is competing in his 16th Tour de France, and he has completed every tour except the first one.
When Hincapie signed up for the ambitious new BMC Racing Team last year before Evans arrival there was some skepticism, but he was happy with his decision.
I knew that they wanted to one day become a world-class team, and they needed my experience to make that happen. That really appealed to me, he said. Then once Cadel signed on, it kind of all snowballed, and it happened a lot quicker than we expected.
Hincapie only has one individual stage victory in the Tour a mountain stage in the Pyrenees six years ago but he said he isnt unhappy with the way things have turned out for him.
I cant win the Tour de France. Im one of the best helpers in the world to win the Tour de France, but I cant win it on my own, and I am quite satisfied with what that has brought me in my life.
Hes coming to the end of his career and wont say whether he will be back with BMC next year.
Well see, he said.
But before that hes looking forward to the thrill of riding into Paris as the teammate of the yellow jersey something hes done eight times before, but his other teammates have yet to experience.
Theyre going to be up for a doozy, he said. Its goose bumps all over.