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Tour de France News for July 8, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Courage and pain for Hamilton

Photo: © C.Henry/CN

A day after breaking his collarbone in a crash in stage 1, CSC's Tyler Hamilton amazed everyone by taking the start of stage 2. An even bigger surprise was that he finished the stage, albeit in no small amount of pain.

"I guess time will tell if I made the right decision. I tell you, it was a hard day. I didn't get much sleep last night. It was difficult, really a dull ache, all day," Hamilton said after finishing in 100th place in the same time as the stage winner.

On Sunday night after the crash, Team CSC's physical therapist, Ole Kare Foli, worked on Hamilton for two hours, and another one and a half hours Monday morning before the start. "I'll be taking it day by day. I want to get to the team time trial so I can help Carlos Sastre to repay him for the help he's been giving me all season," Hamilton continued. "Ole worked on me two hours last night and an hour and a half this morning. He's a magician."

More padding
Photo: © C.Henry/CN

Hamilton benefited from the fact that the stage was slow at the start. "Fortunately for me, the stage was ideal. It started real easy and just progressed and the pace picked up throughout the day," Hamilton said. "Had it gone flat out from the start, I'd have been in trouble."

Team CSC manager Bjarne Riis was impressed at Hamilton's courage too. "Sunday night I was so distraught I wanted to cry," said Riis. "I know how hard Tyler worked to be ready for the Tour, how much he suffered and trained. Things have to get better the next couple of days before we can talk about anything else. The entire team will help him every day."

McEwen on French team conspiracy

Right after the stage yesterday, Robbie McEwen (6th) was silently fuming. When he was first asked for a reaction by the Belgian journalists he barked, "I've got nothing to say." But after the protocol the Australian rider admitted that "I was nowhere in this uncontrolled sprint."

"If Fassa and us didn't ride, then Finot would have won...big joy for the French, who seem to have made a deal not to chase each other. Also FdJeux.com didn't want to help, because they would have lost yellow today: Petacchi or myself would have grabbed yellow. That's while the riders in the lead were threatening the jersey too! And in the end they win the stage with Cooke and hold onto yellow as well!"

"I'll talk about this with [Lotto director Marc] Sergeant, because we can't hold this up as a team. I am still leading in the PMU classification by one point, but that doesn't yet interest me at the moment." Lotto-Domo team director Marc Sergeant is also surprised at the tactics of the peloton. "Everyone who feels like it gets ten minutes. If we didn't chase, what would have happened?"

Extra motivation for Bodrogi

According to Het Nieuwsblad, Laszlo Bodrogi has got more than one reason to perform well in the Tour. The Hungarian Quick.Step-Davitamon rider is hunting for a lion for his pregnant French girlfriend Cathérine.

"It seems like a terrific cuddly toy for Bodro Jr.," explained Cathérine, whose baby is due around the 26th of October. "So they have to win yellow or hope that Quick.Step-Davitamon leads the team classification for a few days. At the World's he'll get two more chances with the time trial and the road race. A mini-rainbow jersey appeals to me too!"

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)

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