George Hincapie completed a hat-trick of USA Cycling Professional National Road Race Championships yesterday, adding a third Stars and Stripes jersey to the two he won in 1998 and 2006. The previous day, David Zabriskie had secured a fifth consecutive title in the Individual Time Trial.
Enjoying strong support from an enthusiastic crowd in his home town of Greenville, South Carolina, the Columbia-HTC rider had escaped from the main field as part of an eight-man breakaway before beating off Andrew Bajadali of Kelly Benefit Strategies and Jeff Louder of BMC Racing in a sprint finish.
Hincapie’s victory comes only six weeks after he broke his collarbone on Stage 17 of this year’s Tour de France, although the fracture was only confirmed by x-ray after the big American had helped set up team-mate Mark Cavendish’s final day sprint victory on the Champs-Élysées.
Garmin-Slipstream rider Zabriskie led for most of the first half of the 185.4-kilometre road race as he sought to seal a memorable double following his win in the USA Cycling Professional National Time Trial Championship the previous day, but failed to finish, as did all but 33 of the 95 starters.
The USA Cycling National Professional Championships have been held in Greenville each year since 2006, when they moved from Philadelphia, and are confirmed to return in 2010.