8:53pm | March 10, 2014

Q&A with George Hincapie, Bottega Gran Fondo VIP Team Leader



Your father introduced you to cycling. How old were you when you got started and decided to turn pro?  
My dad raced as an amateur and it was a family sport for us. He would drag my brother and me out on the weekends. I started cycling when I was 8 and by the age of 10 or 11 I got the bug and started entering junior competitions. “

How often do you get out to ride?
Not as much as a used to, I’m retired now. Usually 3 or 4 days a week.

Do you have any cycling tips for the Bottega Gran Fondo participants?
Don’t drink too much wine the night before. But I probably won’t take my own advice on that. Be prepared for your distance, hydrate, eat right and the main thing is have fun.

Do you have any crazy cycling stories to share?
None in particular, but whenever you do races in northern Europe, especially the classics, and 200 guys need to take a turn on the highway at the same time, what you have to do to get into position for that is pretty crazy.

How do you stay fueled and energized on long rides?
Sports drinks and water. I take gels with me and energy bars. I love Bonk Breakers.

Where is your favorite place in the world to cycle?
Southern France and north of Barcelona on the back country roads in the mountains.

How do you stay fit? What is a typical week for you exercise-wise?
I bike both weekend days for at least 3 hours each day.  And then I’ll bike 2 or 3 days a week for a couple hours.  And, I’m totally addicted to tennis; I play 3 or 4 days a week, 95% of the time singles and 5% of the time doubles.

How did you meet Michael Chiarello?
I was a fan of his before we met and knew him through his many successes. A few years ago we were in France at the same time. Michael had twittered that he had just done one of the same mountain passes I’d done in the Tour de France. So I sent him a direct message saying ‘Hey, I’m not far from you, let’s hook up some time.’ And that’s how we met.

Those mountain passes are really amazing.
Yeah, Michael is a hard core cyclist. I invited him to my first Gran Fondo and that’s how we got to know one another.

What is your favorite food and wine indulgence?
I don’t think I can narrow it down. I love the menu at Bottega. I was out there in November and ate at Michael’s restaurant. I love all kinds of different culinary styles. My wife is a great cook. As for wine, I enjoy a really good Napa Cab, Italian Barolo and Spanish Priorat, it really depends on where I am and what mood I’m in.

Sounds like you prefer red wine?

What are you most looking forward to about the Bottega Gran Fondo?
I love spending time with Michael, and I’m honored he chose me to be a team leader. I’m excited to see my ex-team mates. I think Christian Vander Velde, David Zabriskie are going to be there, and other cycling friends like Lucas Euser. Michael has invited a big list of interesting characters and it will be a great weekend.







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