Tyler Hamilton Interview
Tyler Hamilton, captain of the first-division cycling team Phonak Hearing Systems, appears very confident going into Liege-Bastogne-Liege and thinks he is capable of pulling off a repeat performance of his last year's victory. We talked to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?> <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
Tyler Hamilton, captain of the first-division cycling team Phonak Hearing Systems, appears very confident going into Liege-Bastogne-Liege and thinks he is capable of pulling off a repeat performance of his last year's victory. We talked to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
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Last year you achieved your first major season win in the classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege race. A year has passed since then, and now the tough competition is once again waiting at the gates. Can we expect to see
Of course it's my biggest goal to win this prestigious race again this year. I think our team has good chances of claiming another overall win. Especially with Oscar Pereiro, Oscar Camenzind and I, we have several options.
What will the team tactic be like? Is it even possible to plan ahead or is it necessary to make a decision based on the live race situation?
I don't think that you can program a specific tactic here in advance. Therefore, it's better to carefully follow how the race proceeds and observe how the competition is working. The last 20 kilometers are especially important. In the final phase it's a matter of being extremely careful and not let yourself be caught off guard. Complete concentration is required of every rider.
All World Cup races don?t have the same level of status. Where would you rank Li?ge-Bastogne-Li?ge?
I've been riding this race since 1997. It's my favorite test in the World Cup. For me, it has a very high status. It's the hardest test in the high-stakes competition series. It has a very special character.
How satisfied are you with your current form? Is the conditioning going according to plan?
I'm very satisfied with my form. Everything is going according to plan. My performances in the Basque Tour, especially in time trials, have shown this very clearly. I was able to present myself in an extremely good light there.
What can one say about the competition?
I observe my competitors very closely. As a result, I definitely see that this field has to be ranked considerably stronger overall than last year's.
The Phonak Hearing Systems team is in the pleasant position of having two former winners of Liege-Bastogne-Liege take part in the race this year. Do you consciously put yourself in the service of former Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner and former world champion Camenzind?
We absolutely have the option of appointing either one of us as the leader. In that way, we can decide during the race based on the situation. We're enough of pros to recognize and support the ace with the better form as the leader. If Oscar Camenzind has the chance to win the race, I will put myself completely at his service. Of course we use a cleverly thought-out tactic for that and let our years of experience have some influence.
What Phonak riders will be present at the start in
Oscar Camenzind, Niki Aebersold, Martin Elmiger, Bert Grabsch, Kike Gutierrez, Oscar Pereiro, Gregory