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Cycling's best, George Hincapie version

July 28, 2009 |  4:08 pm

Hincapie_240 Since I started writing about cycling about six years ago, George Hincapie has always been one of the classiest, most thoughtful, generally all-around good guys among athletes I  have ever met. He returns phone calls, did interviews during  those seven years when he was riding in support of Lance Armstrong where all anyone wanted was to ask about Armstrong, and even this year willingly called me once from France at nearly midnight to help me with a story about Armstrong.

So I'll admit to rooting big time for George on the day he almost but not quite won a stage at the recently concluded Tour, and I am not at all surprised that Hincapie waited until the Tour was finished to check out a collarbone injury he suffered in the 17th stage.

Guess what? He rode most of the final five stages with a broken collarbone. The work he did on Sunday to get his Columbia-HTC teammate Mark Cavendish a sixth stage victory? Every turn Hincapie took over those cobblestones in Paris must have been agony. And yet, not a peep of complaint.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: American George Hincapie, left, reacts as he hugs his teammate Mark Cavendish of Britain, right, who won the 19th stage of the Tour de France on July 24th. Photo credit: Bas Czerwinski / Associated Press.