Tyler Hamilton Diary
Back in Spain.
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I guess my Tour de France really ended in Stage 6 on July 9th when I went down in the massive pile up one kilometer from the finish. I went over the handlebars and landed on my back. We had been going about 65 kilometers per hour at the time and when I got hit by another rider inside the domino effect, I went down so fast there was no time to react. I never had the chance to try and break my fall with an arm or an elbow. When I hit the tarmac with my lower back, it was the full weight of my body multiplied by the speed. It was the equivalent of dropping from the sky and landing on top of a telephone pole. After the race, I called my wife and told her what had happened. I knew then that I had not just injured my back, but that I had done some damage to it. I know enough about pain to understand the difference between the superficial and serious stuff. And I knew early on we were dealing with the second category.
But still trying to be optimistic, I tried to deny how bad things were at first. When the chiropractor on our team couldn?t adjust my spine because it was seized up, I thought ? we?ll give it a day, and it will be okay. When Kristopher, our physiotherapist, trained by my old pal Ole sighed a long sigh after working tirelessly to "unblock" my muscles, I told myself to be patient. Luckily stages 7 through 11 were relatively tame which gave me a few more days to try and recover from the injuries before we got to the big mountains. Similar to the strategy I used in the 2002 Giro, we didn?t want to speak publicly about my back because we didn?t want the other teams to attack us, especially during the trickier stages 10 and 11. My team did an incredible job of protecting me and got me to the first mountain stage in the best possible shape under the circumstances.
Preliminary X-rays have not revealed any fractures. But and MRI scan scheduled for later today may show us what we suspect to be true. The doctors think the impact has either badly pulled or torn the ligaments and muscles in my lower back. This would explain why I couldn?t climb like normal.
I lot of people may think I had to abandon the Tour due to pain. Although the injury is painful, this is not the case. It was really a lack of power (For more info, see Roadcycling.com?s Chad Asplund,