Tyler Hamilton Diary

News & Results

07/9/2004| 0 comments
by Tyler Hamilton
"I knew we had a tough day ahead, but I was feeling a lot of confidence in the guys around me. Everyone was hungry." Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
"I knew we had a tough day ahead, but I was feeling a lot of confidence in the guys around me. Everyone was hungry." Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Tyler Hamilton Diary

Tour de France: Stage 3-5.


Tour de France: Stage 3-5 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

Sorry for the delay in getting this update to you. Last night was pretty emotional for our team. In fact, the last couple of days have really put everyone to the test. And I don't just mean us, I mean everybody in the race.

Tuesday's stage from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Waterloo
to Wasquehal didn't make any liars out of those who predicted carnage by the conclusion of the day. I don't know if I've ever ridden in a peloton as agro as the one that headed into the first section of pave. The fight for position started 40 kilometers in advance of the cobblestones. Which meant we were going all out for nearly an hour before we reached the pave. I can't believe there weren't more crashes given what the fatigue rate must have been by the time the bunch was hurdling single file across the dusty section of cobbles.

At least five GC contenders were caught in or behind the major crash of the day that wound up complicating Iban Mayo's Tour de France ambitions. I really felt for him after the stage. With a year's worth of training and sacrifice invested in readying for this race, he lost nearly four minutes due to an obstacle. That's tough to take when you've conditioned yourself to compete in an event of endurance.

The situation reminded me of the 1998 Tour when the peloton hit a seaside road that would be submerged under water during high tide. We rode through at low tide, but the pavement was slimy and slick, and half the peloton went down or got caught behind those who crashed. The second group lost six minutes that day. Alex Z?lle was among them. He wound up losing the Tour by 6 minutes and 40 seconds that year.

Our team was happy to have made it through stage 3 relatively unscathed. My teammates rode incredibly well tactically and showed an impressive amount of strength. They took great care of me, and I was enormously grateful during and after the race.

We headed into the next day's team time trial with big ambitions. We have a lot of solid time trialers on the team so we were expecting a lot from ourselves. In addition, we had strong men like Nicolas Jalabert who knew that this would be one of the key days where he would be making a significant contribution.

The weather couldn't have been worse. It was pouring rain as we headed out of the start. The only consolation was that just about every other team had to ride under the same conditions. We had previewed the course and had done our homework. I knew we had a tough day ahead, but I was feeling a lot of confidence in the guys around me. Everyone was hungry.

And then all #@*% broke loose. We had three flat tires inside the first 20 kilometers. At the 10K mark, Nicolas Jalabert was the first victim. He flatted but we decided to keep going and he wound up riding the final 50+

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