Hincapie recently returned from his European spring campaign of Milan-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Pari-Roubaix. Now he is preparing for the upcoming Amgen Tour of California.
Kirk Flinte of Hincapie Sportswear tagged along on George’s midweek training ride and gave his insight into the BMC rider’s day on the bike.
“Today’s training plan called for specific intervals up the nearby Ceasar’s Head climb. (Nearby for George is a forty mile ride from his house.) On the way to Ceasar’s Head, George did several warm-up intervals. George is so smooth on the bike that at first it wasn’t even apparent he was doing an effort unless you happened to look down at the speedometer and notice that we were driving 25mph up a hill. On second glance, you could see a shift in his hand position and a more focused look on his face as he cranked up the intensity. It’s the familiar expression he wears in the last 50km of a classics race or Tour stage.”
Ceasar’s Head is a well-known Upstate climb that was first made famous for cycling by the former Tour Du Pont stage race. The ascent is 6.4 miles in length with an average gradient of 5.8 percent – and that’s including the false flat at about the midway point and pitches of 15%. It’s not a pure climber’s hill, but one that is perfect for a “rouleur” like Hincapie.
Brent Bookwalter had returned to the States at the end of March in order to heal from a broken left collarbone. He had crashed on the rain slicked roads of Spain while racing in the Volta a Catalunya. He flew to Utah to be under the care of BMC team Dr. Eric Heiden. On the BMC website it was reported that his surgery went well and he would return to training on the bike in two weeks.
On his personal website Bookwalter writes about the improvement he’s seen in his recovery and shares some photos of his modified BMC attached to a wind trainer, as well as the x-ray of his shoulder with the pins keeping him together.
“I think that makes the left side of my body officially 15 percent cyborg when you combine it with my titanium Tibia,” writes Bookwalter.
The youngest rider of the trio is new recruit Chris Butler. Last year Buter was a college student at Furman University – now he has been rubbing shoulders with the the pro peloton’s elite in Europe.
Butler’s Euro campaign was not focused on one-day classics but stage races that suited his riding style such as the Giro di Sardegna, Giro del Trentino and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.
Team BMC hasn’t released the official team roster for the upcoming Amgen Tour of California but looking at the gathering of their riders to train together might suggest a “long team” has been selected.
Hincapie is a lock for the squad and is a contender for a stage win. Bookwalter, if 100 percent healed, has shown he can be a factor in the race of truth. He’s a dark horse pick for the Solvang time trial stage. Butler has lined up in the 2010 edition of the race and with the brutal climbing in stage 7 (Claremont to Mt. Baldy) he could be a real asset to the team.
The Amgen Tour of California is beginning in just a little over two weeks, starting in South Lake Tahoe. The training these riders get under their belts here in Greenville, including intervals up Ceasar’s Head and Paris Mountain, will payoff soon enough. CarolinaCyclingNews will be in California and will be sending daily updates so stay tuned.