George Hincapie and Johan Bruyneel Interview

News & Results

07/3/2006| 0 comments
by Chris Brewer
George Hincapie (Team Discovery Channel) leads the 2006 Tour de France. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
George Hincapie (Team Discovery Channel) leads the 2006 Tour de France. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

George Hincapie and Johan Bruyneel Interview

Q&A with the man in yellow.

George Hincapie Q&A:


Were you aware at the finish that you had a shot at yellow and how when did you realize that you had it?


Yes - I was aware once I got those tow seconds that Boonen had to win and Hushovd has to get a Top 3 placing or else I would take the jersey - that's specifically why I went for it.  I know that the first week at the Tour is always so difficult and chaotic and a battle for position there's no guarantee anyone's getting a stage win or a top placing, so I took the opportunity and I think I made a good decision.


At what point in the race did you start formulating this plan?


As soon as we caught the break away, 3 kms before the sprint.  I realized there was still one guy up the road and four seconds up for grabs and it looked like the sprinters were more concerned with saving energy for the final sprint.  So I just started moving my way up and attacked - maybe a bit too early as one Credit Agricole guy came around me - but tow seconds was enough.


So now you have the two seconds, did you even consider contesting the sprint as well?


 No, no? it was pretty chaotic.  It was all about staying near the front and not losing any time by getting caught up in any gaps.



Wearing the yellow jersey at the Tour de France is every cyclists' dream.  You're backstage waiting to get your jersey - what's going through your mind?


Just happiness, really?  yesterday I was so disappointed about losing - and losing so close.  Today just made that all go away.  This is my 11th Tour de France and I've never worn the yellow jersey so it's really a great honor and a huge deal for me.


Obviously you've been congratulated plenty of times since the podium - who are some of the folks who have gotten in touch with you?


(laughs) Everybody!  There were over 100 messages on my Blackberry, but the first person I called was my wife, and then my brother.  Lance also called and said I looked great in yellow and he really liked it?


So what about defending the jersey?  Johan's already said yes to tomorrow, do you as a team leader want to extend your team in defense further this early on in the race?


That's really up to Johan.  For me I am just really happy to have the yellow jersey today and I'm going to soak up the moment as much as I can.  I know I have prepared better and am in better shape than I have ever been.  How well I'll do at the end I just don?t know but I can only hope and wish for the best - take the Tour day by day, and today I've got the yellow jersey!  And that?s all I'm thinking about right now.


You?ve said several times before that you are in the best shape you?ve ever been in - how do you quantify that?


Power to weight, the way that I feel - I am more confident and I feel that I have as much if not more experience than anyone else in the pro peloton - that has to count for something.  I feel great training, I have great numbers, and I am better than ever.


Johan Bruyneel Q&A:


It appeared that George was aggressively seeking the yellow jersey by attacking in the final intermediate sprint.  Does this signal a change from the team's previously announced plan of being an agent of chaos rather than trying to control the race.  Will Discovery try to defend the jersey?


I think what happened today is a perfect example of what I have been saying for the last few weeks.  Right now we don't know what we can take to Paris.  We hope it's a lot but we have nothing guaranteed.  And so we're going to take every single opportunity that is place in front of us.  George today was a perfect example; we didn't even talk about trying to get the jersey - we didn't even think about it.  Thor Hushovd is a fast sprinter - probably faster than George - and he's in such good shape that I even thought he could win the bunch sprint today in the yellow jersey.


So how did it set up?


With 9 km to go there was still one guy down the road, and George sees an opportunity and goes for the intermediate sprint, only one person reacts and yet he still gets those important two seconds.  It's a perfect example of what we want to do in this Tour de France. 


Will you defend the jersey tomorrow?


There's always that question?  it would have been huge if George had won the jersey yesterday - that would have been a big statement.  But that didn't happen and the little luck he lost yesterday, he got back today.  He had to be lucky: if Boonen had won or Hushovd had been in the Top 3 he wouldn?t have the jersey.  I think it's logical and we have shown in the past that if you have the jersey, at least the first day you defend it.  We have to think that is good for the atmosphere of the team and something to build on.  And if we can keep it another day, we're going to try, but if the sprint decides that somebody else gets it then that's OK, but tomorrow we'll definitely try to defend it.

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