Hincapie ends Roubaix in hospital

Once again George Hincapie was one of the strongest riders in Roubaix, but yet again bad luck thwart

Once again George Hincapie was one of the strongest riders in Roubaix, but yet again bad luck thwart

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When three of the 17 riders in the breakaway group that formed after the Arenberg Forest turned out to be from Discovery Channel, it looked like the
American team had the upper hand in this year's Paris-Roubaix - especially as Tom Boonen was on his own, but that was to change completely, writes Susanne Horsdal.

On the Mons en Pvle pave, with about 48 kilometres to go, the strong-riding George Hincapie experienced every rider's nightmare: his handlebars broke. For a few metres Hincapie kept his balance but then he somersaulted and slammed hard down on the cobbles.

Sitting on the side of the road with a hand to his shoulder it was clear that he was not only in pain but also heart-broken as he once again saw his chances of Paris-Roubaix glory fade away. An examination at the hospital in Roubaix later showed that no bones were broken, but his shoulder injuries could still require surgery.

"George crashed earlier in the race and was already complaining about the pain in his hand (he crashed about 25 kilometres into the race but was quickly back on the bike). We don't know what happened to the handlebars, but it was bad luck for George," said Discovery sports director Johan Bruyneel.

And, to add insult to injury, the other Discovery riders in the breakaway, Leif Hoste and Vladimir Gusev, were later disqualified from their second and fourth spot respectively for not stopping at a train crossing.

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