Why George Hincapie Will Never Win Paris-Roubaix

Apr 22 2009

hincapie lirio jean

This is why George Hincapie will never win Paris-Roubaix.

It might be OK if George were banking on his toughness to hock Carhartts or Dickies or a similar hard-wearing, blue collar brand. But multiple lines of fashionable, designer jeans—sold at the Dura-Ace price point of $145 a pair?! For shame.

Look at Johan Museeuw. More specifically, look at his hair. This is a man who’s won Paris-Roubaix three times, and clearly, fashion is not his native tongue. Roger deVlaeminck, who’s won PR more times than anyone, ever, was known as The Gypsy—not exactly a ringing endorsement of his choice in clothing.

Tom Boonen certainly has the winning smile and popularity to sell jeans. Who is he a spokesman for? Fresty Fresh Pork Products. Not Fresty Fresh Fine Berkshire Ham, not Fresty Fresh Authentic Genoa Salami. Fresty Fresh Pork Products. Think about that for a moment.

Of course, indicting Hincapie for pandering to the moneyed classes is all overlooking the fact that jeans are historically toxic for cycling. Anyone who’s ever come across a pair of those faux-denim Carrera team shorts from the 90s knows this. And as an aside, Carrera’s most famous rider, Claudio Chiappucci, never managed to win the Tour de France. I blame the shorts.

Then there’s the lovely Michael Ball, who’s bankrolled his millionaire’s dalliance with cycling by selling thousands of yards of similarly-overpriced denim. Things have been going just swimmingly with his team as of late, and I think we can only expect this trend to continue indefinitely.

All of this isn’t to say that there aren’t more egregious examples of companies using bikes to sell jeans. And certainly, Mario Cipollini moved a few pairs of high-end pants in his day, while managing, like Hincapie, to take a northern classic or two. . But Cipo’ never won Paris-Roubix, and with products like this, I can’t see how George ever will, either.

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14 Responses to “Why George Hincapie Will Never Win Paris-Roubaix”

  1. LeGimpe 22 April 2009 at 3:39 pm #

    Don’t forget the inverse proceedure of selling jeans to fund a cycling team as the ever classy Mr. Ball seems to be attempting.

    Seriously, the real reason George will not win (and really I hope I’m wrong) is because if you look at likely top ten Paris Roubaix finishers, he loses the sprint to everyone but Hoste and maybe Flecha. He can do a resonable sprint but among the best of the cobble-eaters there are great finishers (Boonen, Hushovd, O’Grady), really good finishers (Cancellara, Ballan, Pozzatto) a few normal finishers (Flecha, Hincapie) and only one crappy finisher (Hoste). I can’t remember if Devolder can sprint because when he wins, he just rides away.

  2. Mark 22 April 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    Carrera’s most famous rider = Stephen Roche, who had a pretty fair year for the team back in 1987.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/steel-is-real/3223533842/ brings back some fun memories.

  3. cosmo 22 April 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    Arrrg! I forgot about Rock Racing. I meant to include that, too. I’ll add a paragraph on it.

    And I associate Carrera more with Chiappucci from his 11-year stint there, but given Roche’s Tour de Force in ’87, I suppose you’d have an argument there.

  4. Jay Parkhill 22 April 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    I used to own a pair of those Carrera faux-denim bib shorts. Faux-acid washed too, as I recall, but with a real pocket in the back. Man, those were stylin’.

    It is also worth pointing out that I never won P-R or the TdF either. I am sure this confirms the logic of your argument.

  5. Mr T 22 April 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    George should spend more time practicing removing his rear wheel and less time designing women’s jeans.
    Harden up George !

  6. GeWilli 23 April 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    He never should have married the Podium girl. That’s got to be the reason he’s cursed.

  7. Adam Myerson 23 April 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    I actually got a promo pair last year, because we’re sponsored by Hincapie. I have to say, they’re pretty hot. And Richie is the one responsible for them, not George.

    Your ass may not look as good in them, Cosmo, but I can get you a deal on a pair of Mountain Khakis instead, if you want.

  8. Anonymous 23 April 2009 at 5:51 pm #


  9. Sebastian 26 April 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    This made my day! And it had been a pretty good day so far anyway.

    By the way, your new video features rock. I’m glad this website is up and running again after a brief post-Boonen-cocaine hiatus.

  10. Oboy 27 April 2009 at 1:20 pm #

    Like it or don’t, but $145 is Ultegra price point for jeans. DA-level denim is more like $250. Just sayin’…

  11. Gregg 27 April 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    Yeah… but denim is just denim. DA is another thing altogether!

  12. Scott Zagarino 29 April 2009 at 5:12 pm #


  13. Henry 29 April 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    These products are from George’s brother Rich Hincapie’s apparel company, which started with sports wear and has added casual wear to the product portfolio.

    “When you wear Hincapie Denim, your ass comes alive!”

  14. Anthony 12 July 2011 at 7:44 am #

    I had a pair of those Carerra Jeans Knicks- Thought I was the shnizzle!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Irish Peloton » Blog Archive » The classic age of cycling - 17 December 2009

    […] calendar. The only three names that come to mind are 36 year old George Hincapie who seems destined never to win his beloved Paris-Roubaix, 38-year old Davide Rebellin who has now doped his way into suspension  […]

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