Hincapie, Zabriskie Win USPRO Titles
In a dream finish,
hometown hero George Hincapie
(Discovery Channel) soloed to victory in the USPRO road championship Sunday. Held in Greenville, South Carolina, this was
first time the event
was an all-American competition.
Hincapie, 32, was the heavy favorite and won with
relative ease, thanks to the help of former and future
teammate Levi Leipheimer
(Gerolsteiner). Levi set a hard pace on all five ascents of 1,872-foot Paris
Mountain, halving the lead group each time up. He was also seen delivering
water bottles to Hincapie.
Leipheimer eventually finished second by 16
seconds as 71 of the 102 starters quit during the 120.5
miles (194 km). Leipheimer and Hincapie rode together on the old U.S. Postal
Service team and will
join forces again in 2007 when Levi moves to Discovery.
(TIAA-CREF) finished third, 1:20 behind Hincapie, who also won the coveted
jersey in 1998. Until this year, an international field competed and the U.S.
champion was simply the
first American to finish no matter his position.
The fact that more than a hundred UCI-licensed
Americans can now come to the starting line is seen as
proof of pro cycling's emergence in the U.S.
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