Demigod of Pain, Tyler Hamilton Descends from Clouds
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eyes heavy and endlessly tired.
In 2003 the lone cyclist in red shirt was none other than the mythically heroic Tyler Hamilton sweeping down out of the swirling mists in perfect form, pausing just slightly to zip his CSC jersey to the top for the descent. I checked my watch and found a break of one minute fifty seconds before three riders followed him. The peloton was two more minutes back and Lance passed quickly surrounded by four blue and red guards.
Just after the Voiture Balai , the sag wagon zoomed by carrying its small hidden load of abandoned riders, we saw another lone rider sweep down from the mists. He was in a yellow windbreaker and I recognized the classic form, left leg forward, back flat and tuck perfect. As he swept by us he yelled, ?Hop on Paul,? and was gone. It was our fearless leader, Peter Thomson, showing his dauntless courage chasing the Tour as the first rider to clear the mountain after the race. He told us we needed to get down fast once the last vehicle passed, but this was insane. And then another rider zipped by right on his tail and this was a Credit Agricole rider in his green and white jersey. Wow, Peter was in the rump Tour de France 2003 and he was flying. He later told us he hit 90 kilometers an hour during this stretch. Needless to say, I didn?t ?hop on? but descended at a sedate 50-60 km and wound my way back to our rendezvous shepherding the remainder of our group. We all made it back safely and, besides, we needed time to ponder all we had witnessed this glorious day: the lone red clad CSC leader, Tyler Hamilton, dropping down out of the mists to take the stage win and secure his place in Tour de France history. We climbed to the right place and we saw the right action and could not tell if it was 2003 or 1925.
Paul Rogen is working as guide for Thomson Bike Tours. Recently formed by Peter Thomson, an experienced cyclist who raced for Bernard Hinault?s prestigious Club Olympique Briochin, Thomson Bike Tours specializes in quality bike tours aimed at people who share their passion for cycling. Visit Thomson Bike Tours online at http://www.thomsonbiketours.com/ to check out their offerings.
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