Cycling teammates Armstrong, Hincapie reunite to fight cancer
The Aspen Times
The most dynamic duo in bicycle racing history teamed up again Saturday in Aspen.
Lance Armstrong and longtime pro cycling teammate George Hincapie rode together — side-by-side — in a united cause to support families dealing with childhood cancer.
“Best teammate ever,” Armstrong said Saturday during a break on the group benefit ride that raised money for Wapiyapi, a Colorado-based nonprofit that specializes in the family fight against cancer in kids. The organization hosts Camp Wapiyapi near Denver for families battling cancer.
“He’s a good dude. Best teammate ever,” Armstrong said of Hincapie as they paused alongside Castle Creek Road on a brilliantly cloudless Saturday morning. “No doubt about it; not even close.”
Armstrong and Hincapie formed an unbeatable duo during their glory days at the Tour de France.
“George has been really generous with his time,” Armstrong said of Hincapie, who heads the family’s Hincapie Sportswear company as well as a domestic pro cycling team and a development team for young riders. “He’s going somewhere every weekend.”
Armstrong said the warm, sunny weather was a welcome sight for the cyclists who return every year to support the cause.
“This is a great cause. Anna has been involved for a long time … probably 10 or 12 years,” Armstrong said of partner Anna Hansen. “And these generous folks come back and do this every year.”
He said the supporters come from all over to join the cause.
“Aspen is super generous, always has been,” Armstrong said. “For a small organization, we make up a significant amount of their budget in one day, which is pretty cool.”
Armstrong, internationally known as a cancer survivor who has led the charge against the disease, said he has visited the Wapiyapi Camp with Hansen and they appreciate the work of the cancer-fighting nonprofit.
Hincapie, for his part, said he was happy to be back in Aspen and happy to be riding alongside Armstrong yet again.
“George won here in the rain,” Armstrong said of Hincapie’s historic victory in downtown Aspen in the 2011 first edition of the USA Pro Challenge.
Hincapie, forever fearless on a bike, won the stage after enduring a harrowing descent of Independence Pass in the rain.
“That was a great day,” Hincapie said Saturday. “I was fortunate to stay at a friend’s house a week before the race. I got in some altitude training, and I got to do some recon (reconnaisance) on the climb and the downhill.”
The preparation paid dividends, particularly on the rapid and slick descent.
“It was a really special victory,” Hincapie said. “I had no idea, prior to that, how big the cycling community was in Aspen. To see all the people cheering and enjoying the race was great.”
Ever since, Hincapie said he’s been coming back to Aspen.
“I’ve come to enjoy this community. I come here as often as I can,” he said.
Earlier this summer, members of his pro cycling team and his development team spent time training around Aspen.
“You can’t really beat this place for training,” Hincapie said. “The altitude is a really big help for the boys.”
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The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District of the U.S. Forest is working toward establishing a reservation and fee system for overnight visits to popular parts of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Implementation will depend on results of a review by a regional board and the agency’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.