George Hincapie: His Career, His Clothing Line & Helping Others
Those who have followed professional cycling for years will be familiar with George Hincapie, who has not only helped Lance Armstrong win 7 Tour de France races in a row, but also broke a record as the first American to compete in cycling in five Olympic games. George’s father, Ricardo Hincapie, an avid cyclist moved to the US from Colombia in 1960, seeking a better life for his family. Ricardo’s two sons, Richard and George were introduced to cycling and racing at a very young age and they soon became hooked. The hours spent racing as children and teens paid off as they soon became top racers
When he was 14 years old, George went to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, and the support and influence of his family when he was a boy would be the foundation of what would become a brilliant international career. As a junior, George won over 300 races, including 12 national titles and two medals at the worlds, a silver and a bronze.
During those early years, George credits his family for much of his success. “My family has always been so supportive, and it had a huge impact on my career. They didn’t have much money, but they always did everything they could to make sure I had the best support at the races.
“This is a expensive sport,” adds George, “it’s not easy to get to races that are far away, but my family made a big commitment, and it always made me want to be as good as I could be. It’s really important to have that family structure if you want to improve.”
Not only was a racing a big part of their lives, but they have branched into other areas, and the Hincapie family became involved in making cycling apparel and sportswear and reaching out to help other young and upcoming cyclists and athletes. The Hincapie Sportswear Company began in 2002 making custom clothing and accessories for teams and clubs in the US. Since then, the clothing lines have expanded to include premium retail apparel available at local bike dealers as well as from Hincapie.com The clothing line is now made in a family owned factory in Medellin, Columbia, run by George and Rich’s aunt and uncle, Maria and Jorge Hincapie.
The Hincapies continually pay it forward. Just this year, George and Rich created the BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Cycling Team to foster cycling’s next generation of racers. They are both personally involved and considered part of the team staff.
Hincapie Sportswear Spring 2012 Line
The Spring 2012 line of Hincapie Sportswear for cyclists and triathletes includes new options as well as updated choices, makes use of Resistex® carbon fabric, which lowers body temperature and lactic acid, comfortable lightweight mesh, and innovative coldblack® technology that enables dark fabric to reflect light the same way as white material. Hincapie Sportswear not only takes advantage of George’s weatlth of experience for input on the clothing and design, but also receives feedback from the cyclists and triathletes they sponsor, including Olympic-bound triathlete Gwen Johnson (shown here on the left) and Morgan Zornes, a two-time Ironman finisher, who is Hincapie Sportswear’s Director of Technical Development. This firsthand knowledge of cycling and triathlons is why the Spring 2012 line mirrors Hincapie’s philosophy of proving apparel with the quality and technical function for athletes to perform at their best.
Hincapie Sportswear unveiled a brand new product perfect for après-ride: premium jeans! The fit is designed for athletes and maximum comfort with a denim made with a fusion of cotton and lycra. For women there are eight different styles and tall women will be relieved to hear they also come in long sizes as well. We were pleased that they fit so well…even with an online order!
Check out the photo of George Hincapie below, wearing Hincapie jeans!
The retail price is $144.99.
The Colombian Cycling Connections
Not only is Colombia the country where Hincapie Sportswear and cycling apparel is made, it is the source of two other great imports: Ciclovia events and the tough hill-climbing Colombian professional racing teams. Perhaps you’ve heard of the first, and if you aren’t familiar with Colombian pro cycling teams and you follow pro cycling, you may want to watch as they start to make an impact on the sport. The Columbians could be to cycling what the Kenyans have been to endurance running.
The Concept of Ciclovias
Ciclovia (Spanish for “bike path’) is a concept that began in Bogota and has spread throughout the world. A Ciclovia is a street which has been temporarily closed to cars so that bicyclists, skaters and pedestrians can use it freely. Some American cities have used the name “Open Streets” or “Sunday Parkways” for these special car-free street events instead of the name Ciclovia. Bogota has the Cicliovias each Sunday and on holidays which are used by 2 million people on over 75 miles of car-free streets. Other Colombian cities such as Cali and Medellín also have regular Ciclovias. Bogota also has designated bicycle lanes called “Ciclorutas de Bogotá” and over the years, the mayors of Bogota have developed other creative concepts to decrease automobile traffic in the city.
Colombian Professional Cyclists Are Making Their Mark
Some of the other great cycling imports from Colombia have a closer Hincapie connection. George and his brother Rich have helped make it possible for some Colombian cycling teams to be able to compete internationally. The Hincapies help sponsor a team of professional cyclists from Colombia: Gobernacion-de-Antioquia. This team is famous for their climbing abilities and showed off their skills in races last summer such as the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. As the Colombian team doesn’t have a single flat road to ride on in their home territory (most inclines are 10% and more), they have learned to take on epic rides and win yellow jerseys. The Colombian teams are limited by economics and have had to do things on a shoe-string budget, but the talent is there and cycling fans will see more cycling greats out of Colombia such as Santiago Botero and Mauricio Soler who, among other accomplishments have worn the King-of-the Mountain (KOM) jersey in the Tour de France. Other Colombian cyclists have won KOM classifications in the other Grand Tours such as Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.
Colombian women also are making their mark in cycling. María Luisa Calle was the winner of the bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. She wasn’t just the first Colombian woman to win an Olympic medal in cycling, she was the first Colombian to do so. A team of Colombian women have qualified and will be competing in the 2012 Olympics in track cycling, mountain biking and BMX competition, so watch for them there!
George Hincapie’s Playlist
“I listen to all kinds of music. I like a good beat or hook and pick music based on how it makes me feel and I’m feeling.”
“… for something like a short, intense time trial, I’ll listen to all genres of music to help focus on the event and get pumped up.”
“I used my race winnings as a teenager to buy an electric guitar and my friends and I would have jam sessions in my room. But once I went pro, my guitar ended up staying home since I was always traveling with and riding my bike. I liked jamming but I loved riding. In the offseason I get to do both!”
- Flux Pavilion – I Can’t Stop
- The Black Keys – Next Girl
- Guns ‘n Roses – Sweet Child O Mine
- Mike Snow – Animal (Punks Jump Up remix)
- Badfinger – Come and Get It
- David Guetta – Memories, (featuring Kid Cudi)
- Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
- The Beach Boys – Sloop John B
- Modest Mouse – Float On
- LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem
- Biz Markie – Just a Friend
- Kings of Leon – Notion
- M83 – Midnight City