As a pro for 20 years, Hincapie is no stranger to grueling workouts, and some of the toughest ones are those he recommends to serious cyclists. He says a common hill workout he likes is to "get the best 20-minute power numbers possible while pedaling on a 7 to 10 degree incline, sustaining 400 to 460 watts the entire time. In the last five minutes, you'll be really counting the clock."

And for the longer, five-to-seven hour workouts, he recommends doing a ton of intervals, especially in the first hour. "If you start early, it mimics a much longer ride," he says. "That's how endurance becomes a factor."

The most treacherous sprint workout he's ever done is the one his trainer, Massimo Testa, gave him a couple of times. For this, he pedals for 10 seconds in an all-out sprint and then takes 50 seconds at a steady tempo ("a pace where you're not really recovering"). He repeats this for six minutes, rests, and does the whole thing over again three or four times. "It's just terrible," he says.