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Hincapie Takes Stage With Teammates' Aid

CYCLING

February 25, 2006|From the Associated Press

SANTA BARBARA — Nine-time Tour de France finisher George Hincapie won the fifth stage of the Tour of California on Friday, and Floyd Landis hung on to the race lead.

Hincapie, of Greenville, S.C., again used his teammates' strong support to sprint to victory in the 105.3-mile stage from San Luis Obispo in 3 hours, 52 minutes, 2 seconds. He joined Juan Jose Haedo of Argentina as a double stage winner.

Landis, of Murrieta, finished 18th but held on to his 29-second margin over David Zabriskie of Salt Lake City.

Bobby Julich of Reno, Nev., remains third overall, trailing the leader by 34 seconds.

"The way I can see it, there's no reason to waste extra energy chasing every single guy who wanted to attack," Landis said. "There was still a long way to go. But as we get closer to the finish, the more nervous I'm getting."

Hincapie, who claimed the race's second stage last Tuesday, won this stage when his Discovery Channel teammates rode to the front nearing the final sprint and he jumped to the lead.

"I was on my own for the last 300 meters," said Hincapie, who won the 15th stage of last year's Tour de France. "It was a long stretch, but I was able to bring it home."

Fabian Wegmann of Germany finished second and Chris Horner of Bend, Ore., was third.

"I'm really not in that good of shape yet," said Hincapie, who rode with Lance Armstrong in his seven consecutive Tour de France wins. "But I've got two wins already. We virtually had the whole team at the front, and I had super legs for the climb."

The race continues today with an 89.5-mile road race from Santa Barbara to Thousand Oaks and concludes Sunday with a 76.5-mile circuit race in Redondo Beach.

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