Five-time Olympian and Tour de France veteran George Hincapie will retire from cycling after the 2012 season, bringing to a close one of the most successful careers by an American rider.
Hincapie, who turns 39 on June 29, announced his decision in a statement Monday.
The affable, understated Hincapie was a longtime aide for Lance Armstrong during the mountain stages of the Tour de France, helping him win each of his seven titles. He helped Alberto Contador win the Tour in 2007 and Cadel Evans win the iconic stage race last summer.
He's expected to help Evans defend his title when the Tour de France starts June 30 in Liege, Belgium. Now riding for BMC Racing Team, Hincapie would be riding his 17th Tour de France, breaking the record he had shared with Dutch rider Joop Zoetemelk for the most starts in history.
''I came to the conclusion that I want to go out while I can still contribute and make a difference,'' Hincapie said. ''To be able to compete for 19 years as a professional ...