On Monday, cyclist George Hincapie will commence his final race, the grueling, six-day USA Pro Cycling Challenge in the Colorado Rockies. Afterwards, he will enter retirement at the ripe age of 37 as one of the all-time greats: He has ridden the Tour de France a dizzying 17 times – the most in the Tour's history – during which he assisted Lance Armstrong in his seven victories (as well as yellow-jersey winners Alberto Contador in 2007 and Cadel Evans in 2011), and has taken a dozen stages himself, including stage 15 in 2005. As he looks to call it quits, Hincapie shows no interest in starting triathlons. His plans: Hiking, getting to know the bars in Greenville, South Carolina (his hometown), and keeping up his daily ride. "I plan on riding forever. My dad is 70 years old and he's still riding. I'll be there." Launch Gallery >>
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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.
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