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Deer Miss of the Day: Startled deer jumps over group of cyclists during gran fondo – and nearly clips George Hincapie

“It happened just after we had left the hotel… It was pretty crazy!” the retired American pro, who organised the event, said

George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong’s most trusted lieutenant during his asterisk-laden seven-year winning streak at the Tour de France, spent a substantial portion of his cycling career adroitly dodging doping accusations from the cynics and the sceptics.

But the former American pro, who has branched out into gran fondo organising in his retirement, has also proved he’s equally capable of avoiding flying deer, after a startled animal made a dramatic cameo at one of his recent events – by jumping across the road and over a group of riders, grazing one and forcing Hincapie himself to duck.

The dramatic near miss (or should that be deer miss? I’ll get my coat) took place two weeks ago at the Gran Fondo Hincapie in Greenville, South Carolina, one of several mass participation events organised by the former Tour de France stage winner and classics specialist.

And while the cyclists taking part may have been alert to the dangers of potholes and poor driving during their ride, they certainly wouldn’t have been expecting to add ‘acrobatic deer’ to their list of potential road hazards.

The incident, which was captured by participant Edwin Gonzalez Montoya’s helmet cam, saw the deer attempt to jump across the road right as the group, who were riding from the hotel to the gran fondo’s start, passed.

Fortunately, the deer somehow managed to clear most of the group, lightly clipping Montoya, while Big George – who was riding directly in front of the helmet-cam wearing cyclist, on the left-hand side – ducked as the animal flew overhead, before glancing behind to survey the scene.

“It happened just after we had left the hotel. I was just a few riders in front of the deer,” Hincapie, who also said that many within the group hadn’t even realised what had happened until later, told Canadian Cycling Magazine. “It was pretty crazy!”

> New Forest cyclist hospitalised after crash with three deer

While Big George’s ruminant gran fondo adventure slots nicely into our Deer Miss of the Day collection (again, apologies), other deer-spotting cyclists haven’t been so fortunate in the past.

Last March, a cyclist was hospitalised after a crash involving three deer at New Forest National Park.

“I literally saw their eyes lit up and the next I was on them, there was no time to stop,” Iain Gee said at the time. “They hit me and I was off, splat on the road. My front wheel was buckled, and I was left with a bleeding head and my ribs were in terrible pain.

“The deer ran off unhurt. It was such a shock I didn’t really know what had happened – I just remember seeing the hindquarters of one right by my front wheel.”

In 2019, West Country cyclist Nathan Wagstaff fractured his arm after a deer jumped out of a hedge and straight into his path during his commute home.

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And back across the pond, in October 2021, a young buck launched itself across the road during a charity cycling event in New Jersey, clipping the front wheel of one of the riders and taking them down. Fortunately, both the deer and cyclist avoided injury.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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14 comments

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HV3 | 3 months ago
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I had something v similar happen 20+ years ago:

I was going at high speed downhill on a narrow country lane at dusk. There were high hedges on both sides atop an embankment.

As I reached the bottom of the gradient (at 20 + mph) a whole herd if deer jumped through the hedge on my right, onto the road a few metres in front of me and then straight off the road into the hedge on the opposite side.

It was all over in seconds, but nevertheless, horrifying.

I braked hard and came to almost a complete stop and of course was in top gear. Unable to change down as I was too slow, I was then faced with a huge uphill gradient. The tension of hard braking and then climbing the uphill gradient in a completely unsuitable gear led to me pulling a groin muscle. I was in my way to a destination in Cambridgeshire, some 30 miles away, and had no option other than to carry on, so it was hurting like blazes by the time I arrived.

This injury is still with me to this day, albeit only an occasional niggle. Thankfully, it's incredibly minor compared to what might have happened had I hit them, or even been trampled by them.

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Monsieur Michael | 3 months ago
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Google - Mountain Biker taken out by Buck. Only in Africa. 

That's proper antelope vs cyclist.

 

(You Tube wont let me post link).

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Vo2Maxi | 3 months ago
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Few years ago, a herd of deer ran right into our group from the side. I personally hit - square on - what I think must have been a stag. It was like hitting a furry concrete wall. From 20mph I literally stopped dead. No broken bones, bike was OK, but my helmet was smashed and I was carted off to hospital, dazed and confused.
Apparently a full grown stag can literally weigh a tonne. Certainly felt like it to me.

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hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
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It's surprising just how good deer are at jumping. Some species can jump higher than an average bungalow, but then bungalows can't jump.

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Vo2Maxi replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
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Are you sure, I went to a party in a bungalow once and the joint was jumping.

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Paul J | 3 months ago
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Oh deer, not herd of that before! 

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OldRidgeback | 3 months ago
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Was the deer wearing a helmet and hi viz and had it got a jumping licence? That's what I want to know.

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Seagull2 | 3 months ago
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Dicklexic | 3 months ago
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Had a similar experience many years ago whilst mountain biking in Cannock Chase. I was was descending a fast forest track and a whole heard suddenly ran out from the trees. It was VERY close and I was very lucky!

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HLaB | 3 months ago
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I had it twice in the space of a month a few years back.  The first time I was deep in deer teritory heading fast down a gravel track.  When a huge black stag deep in the woods came charging towards me and jumped across the track right in front of me.  A few weeks later on a busier rural one jumped over the tall hedge on my left and just in front of my nose.  Phew I thought, I was at the front of the pack and it would have been very messy if I'd went down.  What I didn't realise that was only the leading deer of a pack and the following deer went right into my tall mate. The collision broke his collar bone!  With the latter I think deer raised in the Covid Lockdown period had no fear of traffic.

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Miller | 3 months ago
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There have been a few deer incidents on my club's outings including some leading to hospital visits (for the cyclist). The woods round here are hoaching with deer.

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Smoggysteve | 3 months ago
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I've had deer run out in front of me as I was going down hill at speed. I needed a new saddle after that episode. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Smoggysteve | 3 months ago
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Smoggysteve wrote:

I've had deer run out in front of me as I was going down hill at speed. I needed a new saddle after that episode. 

Walking not cycling but going down a sunken woodland trail in Italy a huge and gorgeous stag leapt straight over our heads...followed by the crack of bullets as various Italian "sportsmen" let fly at him (all missed I'm glad to say). Apparently they should have hung out notices at the trailhead that they were doing a bit of slaughter, but they forgot. Given the American penchant for "sport" I wonder if this poor creature was fleeing a similar situation.

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HoldingOn | 3 months ago
2 likes

That is amazing!

Looks like someone is auditioning for some work 25th December....

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