Tyler Hamilton talks about the stage 1 crash

Discussion in 'Professional Cycling' started by Kupa, Jul 9, 2003.

  1. Kupa

    Kupa New Member

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    Tyler added a great journal entry on his website about the crash and continuing on in the tour. It's a good read.

    Tyler's Website Journal

    Cheers,

    Steve Cooper
     
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  2. claggy

    claggy New Member

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    very good read indeed. i just wonder how much longer he can keep going.
    hes one tough cookie though , i take off the hat im not wearing to him.
     
  3. Mouse Potato

    Mouse Potato New Member

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    What Claggy said.

    I've been really impressed (and amazed) with how he's managed each stage, and it sounds like his presence did make a significant difference in the TTT so I hope he gets a lot of satisfaction from that after going through so much.

    He's a class act and a winner already whether he makes it back to Paris or not.
     
  4. Kupa

    Kupa New Member

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    And how about today's Stage 16 finish for Tyler? Add to that this reporter's observations of Tyler's gracious and gallant actions to slow down the front and assist Lance's regrouping with the lead after the Stage 15 crash.

    If there were an award for "King of the Heart" in the Tour, is there any doubt it would go to Hamilton?

    http://www.sportsline.com/u/partner...//www.sportsline.com/aol/cycling/tourdefrance

    I predict Tyler Hamilton, TdF 2004.

    Cheers,

    Steve Cooper- an old guy that had the pleasure of watching Tyler Hamilton as a junior member on my old race team CCB! Can't help but be proud of this amazing kid...
     
  5. Mouse Potato

    Mouse Potato New Member

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    Absolutely awesome, and very well deserved.

    I've seen a couple of pics of him at the finish with his hands over his face... that's basically how I was during the last half hour or so of the coverage, peeking between my fingers and not wanting to give him the "kiss of death" by saying anything about it looking like he would win. :D

    Let's hope your prediction comes true, Steve!
    (And you should be proud, you lucky bastard ;))
     
  6. Kupa

    Kupa New Member

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    Here's a follow-up story about today's stage and Tyler's ride. Just came in off the news wire, distributed to our club newsletter.

    Cheers,

    Steve Cooper

    **************************************
    * CCB/Volkswagen. Racers wanted. *
    **************************************
    By Sally Jenkins
    Wednesday, July 23, 2003; Page D01
    If you're sick of bad-boy athlete stories, of greedy, entitled creeps and ruined angels and two-faced paragons, and you're in need of a restorative example, turn on the Tour de France and watch Tyler Hamilton ride through the mountains with a fractured collarbone, so determined to finish the race that he'll have to get his teeth recapped from clenching them against the pain. Or watch Jan Ullrich and Lance Armstrong exchange the most extraordinary courtesy in the midst of a vehement rivalry. Does the world seem gray and unpromising, and human nature mean? Console yourself with the Tour.

    The guys in the Tour de France are just that, guys, with as many flaws as you or me. There's no guarantee one of them won't disappoint you tomorrow, but I don't think they will. The Tour is a peculiar event, and it's had its doping scandals in the recent past, but this week it represents something well worth examining, and that something is personified by Hamilton, the lesser known 32-year-old American from Marblehead, Mass., who has continued riding out of honor -- a gratuitous honor.

    If Hamilton gets through the rest of the Tour he will have cycled more than 2,000 miles, over a hundred miles a day for three straight weeks, despite the collarbone fractured in two places and a badly twisted spine. He's a one-man antidote to the thieves' mentality so many pro athletes have -- which is to say, "If I can get away with it, I'd be a chump not to." Last week, a TV cameraman accidentally bumped his bad shoulder in a rush past him to interview someone else. A couple of days ago, a hotel elevator door malfunctioned, and closed on the same shoulder. When he gets home, "My dentist won't be too happy with me," he said, by telephone from France.

    Why does he do it? "Just to be in the race is a feat in itself," he says. Hamilton has done this sort of thing his whole life; last year, he finished second in the Tour of Italy with a cracked shoulder blade. When it was over he had to have 11 teeth replaced, from grinding them in agony.

    He only turned to cycling after he broke some vertebrae in a bad accident as a skier at the University of Colorado, and he has spent most of his career underpaid, working tirelessly and without recognition. He is just now having his finest season, at 32, because he spent most of his prime cycling uncomplainingly on behalf of Armstrong, helping him to three previous Tour victories as a member of the U.S. Postal team before he became leader of his own team.

    It used to be that when Hamilton came home to the States from the Tour, nobody knew where he'd been.
    "They'd say, 'How was your vacation in France?' " he laughs.
    The conversation would go like this:
    "I rode in the Tour."
    "Oh. Did your wife do it with you?"
    "No, uh, it's a big bike race through France."
    "Really. Did you stop for some nice lunches?"
    Hamilton's chances to get some due for his devotion were ended by a crash on the first day of this Tour, a bitter disappointment since he had a real chance of challenging Ullrich and Armstrong. He won the prestigious classic race Liege-Bastogne-Liege earlier this season, and would surely have finished among the top three in Paris on Sunday had he not been in a vicious pileup in Meaux. Sprinter Jimmy Caspar went down in front him, and his front wheel seized up, throwing him over the handlebars at 30 mph. "It was a domino effect, and I was in line," he says.

    Initially, Hamilton kept riding just to help his team. But he has kept on, stubbornly, well past the point of reason, and is in seventh place. "Hamilton is an enormous surprise, a great surprise, a beautiful surprise," said race director Jean-Marie Leblanc. Other teams were at first skeptical about the severity of Hamilton's injury, given his ability to keep riding among the top 10, but X-rays show a V-shaped double crack in his collarbone. He has ridden with three layers of foam and tape on his bars, and reduced pressure in his tires to ease the shocks. But he's getting tired. "I've been fighting the pain for so long, it kind of saps you," he says.

    Arguably no other sport requires the kind of sacrifice or maturity the Tour does, and for less recompense. The equation of work to adulation is simply different than that of an NBA player who runs up and down a court for 90 minutes, a couple of times a week. It's not a race for the self indulgent -- or selfish man's race, either. "When you worked that hard, you don't give up too easy," Hamilton says. "But you know, I'm not the only one who'd do something like this. A lot of other riders have the same characteristics."

    This was amply demonstrated by the events of Monday. Hamilton was trailing Armstrong when Armstrong's bike flipped out from under him, the handlebars caught by a spectator's purse, and he hit the ground hard. As he struggled to his feet, bleeding, Ullrich slowed to wait for him, an almost incomprehensible act of sportsmanship. It was payback for a similar incident two years ago, when Ullrich skidded off the road down a dangerous incline, and Armstrong waited for him to catch up. When other riders started to surge forward past Ullrich, Hamilton raced forward and waved his arms, angrily urging them to slow down.

    Ullrich could have attacked. His career was in the dregs a year ago after he tested positive for using the nightclub drug ecstasy, crashed his car, and injured his knee. He came back, got fit, and has been giving Armstrong the toughest fight of his career. But it's an unwritten rule among the riders that you don't attack a man down. The Tour is so grueling that it shouldn't be determined by bad luck, but by strength.

    "What we did was out of respect," Hamilton said. "You want the strongest man to win. Had Jan kept going and won the stage it wouldn't have been fair. . . . We're competitors but we try to take care of each other a bit, and made sure the race is won by the strongest."

    The Tour is a logistically and morally complex race. It's also said to be the only event in the world in which you have to get a haircut halfway through. What to make of this affair, in which riders would wait courteously if the leader crashes? Stephen Roche, the 1987 Tour winner, told the Associated Press, "The Tour de France is glamour, pain, deception, mountains, everything." William Fotheringham of the Guardian recently wrote, "The great metaphor inspired by the Tour de France is that of the race as a road to Calvary. It has been used over the 100 years since the great race was born to describe the process of a cyclist continuing in the face of great affliction."

    It's been a week for weeping in American sports. A college basketball player was arrested for allegedly killing a teammate, and an NBA star was arrested for allegedly raping a 19-year-old. But the Tour, for all its moral ambiguities, has strangely been something fundamentally good, has offered some fundamental sense of sport, or civilization, or humanity.

    CCB/Volkswagen, proud to be sponsored by..
    ************ Volkswagen ************
    DeVinci Time Pedros Verge Michelin SRAM
    Northeast Bikes Eastern Bank Marblehead Cycle
    Endurance Realty Tribe of Two Sheiks Hummus

    --^^---------------------------------------------------------------
     
  7. Kupa

    Kupa New Member

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    And one other item from the scene, courtesy of the CCB newsletter...

    Cheers,

    Steve Cooper


    **************************************
    * CCB/Volkswagen. Racers wanted. *
    **************************************
    Stage 16 - Wednesday, July 23: Pau - Bayonne, 197.5 km

    Masterstroke

    Just when we thought that we had seen everything in this Tour along comes Tyler and delivers one of the greatest solo rides that the Tour has ever witnessed in it's long and storied history. "The Great Escape" started with 142km (about 95mls.) of the stage to go when Tyler blitzed up to an early break on the way up the Cat 1 Col du Soudet. Next up was the very steep and vicious climb of the Cat 1 Col de Baragui (and the last of this years major climbs). Having thanked his breakaway companions for a pleasant ride, Tyler told them that he was going to start racing now. And there was nothing that anyone could do about it. In his distinctive style and with 96km to go, Tyler left the whole Tour de France in his wake. Steadily, and in spite of desperate chasing behind him, Tyler built up his advantage to a maximum of 5min 15secs with 32km to go. Pandemonium was breaking out behind as those in front of him on GC were seeing Tyler leap frogging over them into a potential third place. Close up views of the chasing bunch showed faces contorted with sheer effort as they attempted to reel in our hero. Fassa Bortolo, Euskaltel Euskadi and now especially Telekom (looking after Vino's 3rd place GC interests) were working flat out. Particularly gratifying was to see a stressed out Vinokourov hammering at maximum effort at the front of the bunch coming into the final km's trying to limit the damage. Although they started to eat into Tyler's lead, it was too late. A rider of Tyler's unique class is not one to be caught in such a situation as this. On the final run in to the line Tyler rode up beside his team car and Bjarne Riis stretched out his hand for a congratulatory hand-shake. I don't think that a gesture like that has ever been seen before in the last meters up to the line. Tyler crossed the line, arms held high for the most glorious of wins. Erik Zabel took the bunch sprint for second place 1min 55secs behind Tyler.

    All cleaned up and sitting beside his team bus we were treated to the sight of Haven kissing the heck out of Tyler. Seconds later Armstrong appeared and gave Tyler a huge hug before he zeroed in on Haven and gave her one too. On the podium Tyler was all smiles, but his right arm hung low, he did not raise it in salute to the crowd and he used his left hand to shake hands with Bernard Hinault and the local dignitaries. We can only guess at the pain that he is still enduring as a result of that catastrophic Stage 1 crash. With every incredible exploit that we have seen at this Tour the many commentators have predicted that each one will enter Tour history and become a great legend. Only time will tell. But what we do know is that today we have seen a masterpiece in bike racing. For a rider of Tyler's stature and position on the GC to orchestrate such an escape from the world's greatest riders in the final week of the Tour is unprecedented. And to make it stick over incredibly hard Pyrenean roads makes it even more incredulous. Maybe others can correct me on this, but I cannot recall such an exploit as this in Tour history.

    For his efforts, Tyler moved up just one place on GC into 6th. This does however put him into striking distance of Mayo and Zubeledia for the upcoming TT to achieve a potential 4th place finish on GC. Vinokourov lies 3min 50secs ahead of Tyler and this will probably be too much of a stretch for Tyler to close down. However, as we have seen all through this race, just about anything can happen and we can be sure that CSC has not thrown in the towel yet.

    Lance and the USPS boys (as well as Ullrich and his Bianchi 'mannschaft') must have been laughing their socks off the whole way today. Starting out over 9mins behind Armstrong on GC today, Tyler was not a threat unless he started to put some really big air between them out on the road. In particular it was sweet to see the Euskaltel boys suffer as payback for their attack on Luz-Ardiden when Armstrong hit the deck. Had Tyler still been with USPS, his ride would have been a brilliant tactical ploy to preserves Armstrong's lead. As it was, Tyler still gave his former boss a huge gift, for the USPS boys had an easy day sitting back and watching the others suffer in their attempts to bring back Tyler. More importantly to Tyler and his CSC team they now have their third stage win, added nearly two minutes to their lead in the team competition and have two riders in the top ten on GC (Tyler 6th, Sastre 10th). What other surprises await us?

    A major beneficiary of today's win was Tugboat. He got himself another Credit Lyonnaise lion! So the entire Hamilton household finished the day mightily contented.

    We have known all along that Tyler is a great rider. Today he elevated himself into the rarified atmosphere of "the Great's". Ever since his first outing this year at the Paris-Nice where his marathon solo break helped secure the KOM title, Tyler has thrilled us with aggressive, attacking riding. His LBL win made him the first American to ever win one of the 'five monuments'. This was followed up with his win a few day's later in the Tour of Romandie. The Tour de France has been something else. After those bleak hours following Stage 1, every day has seen an incredible performance never before matched in terms of enduring injury and pain. Nobody would have criticized Tyler for finally retiring from the race at any point along it's journey. Instead we should now see him and his triumphant CSC team enter Paris to enduring accolades.


    CCB/Volkswagen, proud to be sponsored by..
    ************ Volkswagen ************
    DeVinci Time Pedros Verge Michelin SRAM
    Northeast Bikes Eastern Bank Marblehead Cycle
    Endurance Realty Tribe of Two Sheiks Hummus

    --^^---------------------------------------------------------------
     
  8. Cycling Master

    Cycling Master New Member

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    Great Tour for Hamilton...
    Hope is back in 2004 as a challenger for the yellow jersey!
     
  9. runsinthewynd

    runsinthewynd New Member

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    remember tyler and phonak 2004 tdf!
     
  10. Cycling expert

    Cycling expert New Member

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    What makes everyone think that Phonak will even be in Le Tour, they haven't been before.
    Don't be surprised if they don't get an entry.
     
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