Rock Racing’s Tyler Hamilton Awarded Amgen Breakaway From Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey

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02/19/2009| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen
Rock Racing’s Tyler Hamilton earns the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey, awarded to the cyclist who best exemplifies the character of those engaged in the fight against cancer. Photo copyright Vero Image.
Rock Racing’s Tyler Hamilton earns the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey, awarded to the cyclist who best exemplifies the character of those engaged in the fight against cancer. Photo copyright Vero Image.

Rock Racing’s Tyler Hamilton Awarded Amgen Breakaway From Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey

Team Rock Racing's Tyler Hamilton has been awarded the Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey following his aggressive day of riding during the mountainous Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California.

Team Rock Racing's Tyler Hamilton has been awarded the Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey following his aggressive day of riding during the mountainous Stage 4 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California.

The jersey is awarded to the cyclist who best demonstrates courage, sacrifice, inspiration, determination and perseverance, the characteristics of those engaged in the fight against cancer. 

Hamilton initiated a formidable break early on in the 188 kilometer race with Serge Pauwels (Cervélo TestTeam), Jason McCartney (Team Saxo Bank) and Rock Racing teammate Francisco Mancebo. After Mancebo dropped back, the three built a more than five-minute lead, only to be reeled in with two miles to go on the chalk-covered streets of downtown Clovis, Calif.

Hamilton is competing in his first Tour of California following a successful 2008 season that saw him earn the stars-and-stripes jersey at the USA Cycling national road championships following a nail-biting, photo finish. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the time trial said he saw an opportunity emerge while helping Mancebo go for mountain points on the first climb. 

“It was my job to help Paco get the mountain points, so I didn’t really think about how far we still had to go at the time,” he said. “In a race like this, you take what you can get. I’m honored to be one of the winners of this jersey because I want to help inspire people. Not very many of us have the chance to do that.”

The jersey is of special significance to Hamilton, whose mother Lorna is battling Stage 2 breast cancer.

Commenting on Rock Racing’s objectives today, Hamilton told Roadcycling.com that “Our main objective for today was to protect the KOM jersey to make sure nobody dangerous got up the road.  Jason (McCartney) was third in the KOM points overall, so he was up the road and I reached up to him.  Later, I looked back and saw Mancebo coming up, so I waited and brought him up.  I decided that if the breakaway was going to be successful, he was going to have to go back to the peloton because Astana wasn’t going to give us a break.  We achieved our goal with Mancebo holding onto the KOM jersey, but unfortunately we couldn’t make the breakaway last.”

When asked for his reactions to todays stage, Hamilton said that “I am disappointed, really disappointed that we didn’t hang on in the end.  Every kilometer I was out in that breakaway, I thought we were going to stay away.  I knew the sprinters would put on a chase.  McCartney was really strong and great to have in the race today.  I just needed a couple extra kilometers.”

When asked to say more about his expectations in regards to the decisive time trial in Solvang, Hamilton told Roadcycling.com that “Speaking of the Solvang course, during training camp we previewed the course.  It’s a great course - fast.  For sure the strongest rider will win on Friday.  The course is kind of flat on the way out with some hills on the way back. 

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