I am not prone to hero worship. I think that there are plenty of people to admire in this life, and most of the people who make that cut are those who I know personally. Through the years I have figured out that sports in general is such a business that athletes especially are packaged and sold to the public in the way that will maximize their revenue producing opportunities. As a result, there are professional and amateur athletes that I admire, but thinking they walk on water is a bad idea in my book.
Then there are people like George Hincapie. Most of my readers do follow pro cycling, so you may not know much about George. He is an American who is one of the most respected riders in the pro peleton. He is what you call a domestique, a rider who supports other riders on his team. He helped Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador both win the Tour de France. Of course Lance won it seven times and Alberto once, but he was one of the constants in the victories for both. He helped Mark Cavendish get his stage wins and win several stages during the Tour de France. Mark actually won 6 of the stages in the 2009 Tour, which tied a long standing record. As a domestique, George would be the lead out man for Mark in many of those victories.
In short, George Hincapie is a stud. No accusations of drug use, no controversies, just a workhorse. Everyone in the pro peleton admires his work ethic and attitude. He is one of those guys who anyone would love to have on their team. Team BMC was able to land him so that he could be a domestice for Cadel Evans and I am positive Cadel is ecstatic about that. Here he is on the course for Paris-Roubaix, which I hope he wins this year.
Anthony Tan of VeloNews just put together a great interview with George and you can read it here. If there is someone for young cyclists and people to look up to, I would say he is your guy.