Why George Hincapie Will Never Win Paris-Roubaix

Apr 22 2009

hincapie lirio jean

This is why George Hincapie will never win Paris-Roubaix.

It might be OK if George were banking on his toughness to hock Carhartts or Dickies or a similar hard-wearing, blue collar brand. But multiple lines of fashionable, designer jeans—sold at the Dura-Ace price point of $145 a pair?! For shame.

Look at Johan Museeuw. More specifically, look at his hair. This is a man who’s won Paris-Roubaix three times, and clearly, fashion is not his native tongue. Roger deVlaeminck, who’s won PR more times than anyone, ever, was known as The Gypsy—not exactly a ringing endorsement of his choice in clothing.

Tom Boonen certainly has the winning smile and popularity to sell jeans. Who is he a spokesman for? Fresty Fresh Pork Products. Not Fresty Fresh Fine Berkshire Ham, not Fresty Fresh Authentic Genoa Salami. Fresty Fresh Pork Products. Think about that for a moment.

Of course, indicting Hincapie for pandering to the moneyed classes is all overlooking the fact that jeans are historically toxic for cycling. Anyone who’s ever come across a pair of those faux-denim Carrera team shorts from the 90s knows this. And as an aside, Carrera’s most famous rider, Claudio Chiappucci, never managed to win the Tour de France. I blame the shorts.

Then there’s the lovely Michael Ball, who’s bankrolled his millionaire’s dalliance with cycling by selling thousands of yards of similarly-overpriced denim. Things have been going just swimmingly with his team as of late, and I think we can only expect this trend to continue indefinitely.

All of this isn’t to say that there aren’t more egregious examples of companies using bikes to sell jeans. And certainly, Mario Cipollini moved a few pairs of high-end pants in his day, while managing, like Hincapie, to take a northern classic or two. . But Cipo’ never won Paris-Roubix, and with products like this, I can’t see how George ever will, either.

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