Tyler Hamilton Diary

News & Results

07/11/2004| 0 comments
by Tyler Hamilton
Tyler Hamilton was involved in a big crash at the end of stage 6. He crossed the finish line by help of his supportive team mates. All the guys here at Roadcycling.com wish him a speedy recovery. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Tyler Hamilton was involved in a big crash at the end of stage 6. He crossed the finish line by help of his supportive team mates. All the guys here at Roadcycling.com wish him a speedy recovery. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Tyler Hamilton Diary

Tour de France: Stage 6-7 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

Tour de France: Stage 6-7 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

Greetings from the rain drenched Tour de France. I don't think we saw a drop of waterfall in last year's Tour. But 2004 is shaping up to be a battle against Mother Nature among other things.

So much for the theory about the first half of the race being boring. The first week has been full of all kinds of action. But unfortunately it's been more about things outside of the rider's control than the race itself. Although one could argue weather is as major part of the Tour every year. Last year's heat wave was no treat. So far this year, it' been rain and wind reaping havoc on the peloton.

When the streets are full of water everything washes up from the gutters and the sides of the road, so you are constantly riding over pebbles and debris. I think out team has had more than 20 flat tires in the last four stages. It's been crazy. Yesterday's finish was eerily familiar to stage 1 of last year when more than 40 riders hit the pavement with 500 meters to go. There is always a chance there will be a crash when the peloton comes charging in for a sprint finish. Especially during the first week of the Tour de <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
France
when there is so much at stake and huge pressure on every rider in the race. That's why I think, out of respect to the riders; every stage with the potential of finishing in a sprint should do so down a big straight, wide boulevard.

Maybe this doesn't make for great television, but the number of roundabouts, medians, islands, lefts, rights, crowds and narrowing roads we've needed to navigate through the finishing kilometers of the last few stages borders on irresponsibility. Expecting nearly 180 riders to barrel down a finishing straight that narrowed by the meter yesterday was a big miscalculation by the technical directors. It was as crazy as the hard right that brought down the peloton last year.

The number of guys riding in bandages at this point could be unprecedented. I've never seen so many guys beat up at the same time. Our team is no exception. Almost all of us went down in the crash yesterday. Oscar Pereiro got up off the ground with his little finger bent straight out at a 90-degree angle. It looked awful, but was not broken, just dislocated. He lucked out.

I went over the handlebars and landed on the back of my head. I scraped up my shoulder blades and my spine. I guess I landed on my bones. I was pretty sore at the start this morning, but all in all, I think I was pretty lucky. Hopefully I'll fell better in a couple days.

Today's final kilometers were a little crazy as well. Although the finishing straights were a little more generous than yesterday, there was a close call about 10 kilometers from the finish. The crowds were in the streets and some kind of flare was burning on the left side

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