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Le Tour 2001

89th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 6-28, 2002

Tour de France news for June 19, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

CSC-Tiscali to go with three pronged Tour attack

Tyler Hamilton comments on Giro and Tour

Although Bjarne Riis hasn't named the full CSC-Tiscali squad for the Tour de France yet, three riders are certain to play leading roles: Laurent Jalabert, Carlos Sastre and Tyler Hamilton. Jalabert won two stages last year as well as the King of the Mountains jersey, and was an inspirational rider for the team. Both Sastre and Hamilton rode well in the Giro d'Italia, with Hamilton taking second overall behind Paolo Savoldelli despite fracturing his shoulder in the first week. He crashed in both the prologue and the fifth stage, but it was the latter that resulted in the fracture.

"The major effects of my first crash in the prologue consisted primarily of cuts and road rash," Hamilton told Cyclingnews today. "I did smash my time trial helmet and sustained a pretty good gash to the top of my head, but it didn't require stitches. The worst of the abrasions was to my right wrist, which had gone straight into the staging fence. I wound up losing most of the skin from the top of my hand, past my wrist bone."

"The second crash was by far the worst. When the freewheel broke, I basically launched myself over the bars and straight into the pavement. I haven't seen a tape of the crash, but somewhere in the midst of rolling over a couple of times, I injured the left shoulder pretty seriously. Because I rolled, I wound up cutting up my body on both sides. Adrenaline kicks in pretty quick in situations like that one, and it wasn't really until the closing kilometres of stage 5 that I began to feel how serious the effects of the crash were. By the time I made it back to the hotel that night, I couldn't move my right arm. The tendons and muscles had completely seized up and the massage therapist had to work on my shoulder for about three hours to get me to the point where I could move a little bit."

He was obviously hurting, but chose to continue on in the Giro, as he recalled: "We knew the crash in stage 5 was bad, but we decided to take things one day at a time and see what I could do. We opted not to have the shoulder x-rayed because finding out it was broken or worse would have certainly meant we would have been told to pack it in. We decided to evaluate things on a daily basis, and luckily, through the help of Sandra (massage therapist) and Ole (physiotherapist) I was able to regain some mobility and continue in the race."

"The major detriment stemming from the shoulder injury was that it prevented me from really being able to pull up on the handle bars or stand up on the climbs. You may have noticed it took me about a week to get out of the saddle again during the race. When the races sped up in the closing kilometres, I wasn't able to use my upper body to match the efforts of the other riders. So, in a nutshell, the crash in stage 5 played a major role in my ability to climb and accelerate quickly."

But the pain didn't end there: "It didn't help matters that I went down in stage 6 as well. As luck would have it, it was pouring rain and a few guys riding in front of me slipped in a corner and started a pile up. I went down straight onto my left side/shoulder for the third time in a week. I'm sure the accumulated effects didn't play to my favour. The intense pain that followed going down on what turned out to be a fractured shoulder made me wonder if I was going to be able to finish the race. Luckily my teammates were there to support me through the worst of if, and I was able to keep going."

"Strategically, I knew the other riders were watching me closely after my crashes in stage 5 and 6. Everyone knew I was hurting but no one knew how much. Not showing all of your cards is part of the sport, I guess."

Hamilton is now well on the way to recovery, and expects to contest the Tour de France without being hampered by his injury. He did wish to clarify that he wouldn't be CSC's sole leader for the Tour, after a recent article on Cyclingnews suggested that may be the case.

"Laurent Jalabert is the team captain for CSC-Tiscali, and the entire squad will support him 100%," Hamilton said. If he can repeat last year's success, it will be a good Tour for the team. In addition to that, both Carlos and I will concentrate on the GC. Carlos's main objective this year is the Tour. Should he ride the way I know he is capable of, I will have no problems riding for him the way he rode for me at the Giro."

It's also clear that he respects his former teammate Lance Armstrong a great deal, saying that "Since the Giro, a lot of people have been trying to hype up a battle between Lance and I for the Tour de France. While the support and interest is flattering, the fact remains, that I have a lot of learning to do before I can be a true contender at a race of this caliber. As for this year, a top ten finish on GC would be a great achievement for me. This kind of result would be a good stepping stone for bigger and better things in the future."

"I hope folks will give me the time I need to develop into a rider on that level," concluded the down to earth Marblehead man. "And I also hope folks will have realistic expectations of what my role will be for our team and where that might lead."

Tougher anti-doping measures in place for Tour de France

With two and a half weeks to go before the start of cycling's biggest circus in Luxembourg, the organisers of the Tour de France have announced plans for tougher and more extensive anti-doping measures. In an attempt to prevent the recent drug scandals that rocked the Giro d'Italia, as well as a repeat of the infamous Festina affair in 1998, the organisers want more tests and stricter penalties for those caught.

"You can never get rid of doping and cheating in top level sports," said the president of the ASO (owners of the Tour de France), Patrice Clerc. "But progress is being made."

To start with, riders expected to take part in the Tour will be, and presumably have been, subjected to random drug tests in the month leading up to the race. Any who are found positive will be excluded before the race starts, to avoid incidents such as the Gilberto Simoni affair in the last Giro d'Italia. Simoni tested non-negative to cocaine on April 24, two weeks prior to the start of the Giro. However, the results only became known halfway through the Giro, and he retired before stage 12.

Two days before the start of the Tour, all 189 riders will undergo blood tests, which also form part of the UCI's longitudinal health monitoring program. A team of 23 doctors, lab technicians and UCI medical inspectors will be on hand to ensure that the results of the tests are known by Friday evening before the start on Saturday in Luxembourg.

During the Tour, anywhere up to 10 riders will be subject to urine testing each day. As part of this, the organisers expect to increase the number of EPO tests from 72 to 90, which is the maximum that the national anti-doping laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry can handle during that time. Members of the World Anti-Doping Association will also be on hand to observe

If any rider tests positive for a banned substance, they will be thrown out without waiting for the results of the B sample, according to race director Jean-Marie Leblanc. This was not the case in the Giro, when Stefano Garzelli and Gilberto Simoni remained in the race for several days before being forced to leave.

Only one rider tested positive for EPO in the Tour last year, and that was Spaniard Txema del Olmo, who was excluded from the race and fired by his team, and is not allowed to compete in France for three years.

This year, riders will be allowed to take cortisone via injection provided they have the correct medical justification. Last year, the unlucky Jonathan Vaughters was forced to quit the race after he was stung by a wasp after stage 14. He was not allowed to treat it using cortisone, because he hadn't declared it before the race.

Finally, all riders will have to sign a code of ethics which states that they are against all forms of cheating in the sport.

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