Results tagged “Tyler Hamilton” from spare cycles

US Pro.jpgTyler Hamilton took the sprint over Blake Caldwell in a photo finish. Caldwell was able to sit on Hamilton's wheel for most of the run-in to the finish, but Hamilton got Caldwell to lead it out and came around his wheel at the last second for the victory. It's Hamilton's first-ever national RR championship and it comes as a redemption on US soil, not too long after his overall victory at the Tour of Qinghai Lake.

Tyler Hamilton - (c) Ken Conley
ToC photo by Ken Conley
Garmin finished 2-3-4 and it was really their race to control. They started ten riders and all -- including Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde -- were on the attack. Blake Caldwell, Danny Pate, and Lucas Euser were among the five that finally broke away from a group containing George Hincapie, but they seemed flummoxed by the presence of both Tyler Hamilton and Jeff Louder. They attacked and counter-attacked, but Louder and Hamilton would not quit. Eventually Hamilton took the race into his own hands and went on the attack, with Caldwell following. The chase group of Pate and Euser were unable to drop Louder, so Caldwell was forced to deal with Hamilton all by himself.

It's been a great finish to the year for Rock Racing and there will be plenty of US championship kits to fly next year. Rahsaan Bahati took the US Crit championship and Justin Williams took the U23 championship.

Getting ready for the Giro d'Italia

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The riders

Starter List: Cleanest Grand Tour? Much like Discovery, Tinkoff is paying for dipping into the doping bin to fill its rosters as Hamilton and Jaksche are off the start list. Caisse d'Epargne is also paying with the absence of Constantino Zaballa and Ruben Plaza, though their bigger threat is losing Valverde for the Tour de France if those rumors gain traction.

PezCycling does its picks: will the podium be 1-2-3 former Giro winners? (Simoni vs. Savoldelli vs. Cunego) Or will Di Luca or Popovych finally sit atop?

Daily Peloton previews Team Milram: Will Petacchi finally re-emerge (he'll have to do so without Marco Velo and Erik Zabel)

Daily Peloton previews T-Mobile: without Honchar, T-Mobile will have to shift focus to stage wins. Marco Pinotti's journal

The route

The start of the race looks beautiful, but of course everyone is waiting for the dramatic Zoncolan, which will be climbed this time on the steeper side and is referred to as "Europe's most difficult climb" by Daily Peloton.

Daily Peloton route preview w/ elevations

VeloNews route preview

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Steephill is maintaining a Giro d'Italia dashboard

Cycling.tv's Versus Channel has video, but this time around it appears that you have to pay extra for the Giro (in the "Versus Channel", aka the "Italy Channel"). Is it just me, or are they actively trying to make their site harder to use and understand? (not that it was ever easy to use)

The New York Times has just published this bombshell: 2 Ex-Teammates of Cycling Star Admit Drug Use along with an article focusing on Andreu in particular, Fears for Sport Made Cyclist Come Clean. Neither Andreu nor the unnamed rider implicate Armstrong directly, though Andreu traces his usage back to their Motorola days and he also says he saw Armstrong sorting little round pills, which Armstrong claims were caffeine.

I'm of mixed minds about Andreu's admission. * update: Andreu clearly takes responsibility for his own actions in his statement today, so it doesn't feel as dishonest anymore.* The article clearly tries to frame him not as a cheater for himself but as a cheater for Lance, as if Andreu had nothing to gain for himself by doping. But Andreu had plenty to gain: a coveted spot on a Tour team and a chance to ride into Paris on the winning team. Now, of course, Andreu has little to lose after being let go from the Toyota-United team, which was surprising given how good that squad was doing its first year out. Regardless, it's a damning admission for the old US Postal squad and I'm sure everyone will wonder now who the unnamed rider is. The 1999 roster was:

  • Lance Armstrong (USA) of course not
  • Frankie Andreu (USA) admitted
  • Pascal Deram´┐Ż (Fra)
  • Tyler Hamilton (USA) unlikely
  • George Hincapie (USA) unlikely
  • Kevin Livingston (USA)
  • Peter Meinert-Nielsen (Den)
  • Christian Vandevelde (USA) racing for CSC
  • Jonathan Vaughters (USA) heading up TIAA-CREF

So it ends for Phonak

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I'm hardly a Phonak fan, but I'm sad to see them go:

Andy Rihs Disbands Phonak Cycling Team

Two American hopes -- Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis -- have risen then crashed through the Phonak team, so perhaps it's best that Phonak go the way of many cycling teams and disband, but for the riders who only recently were celebrating a Tour de France win and two-year extensions on their contracts, it is another terrible blow.

Movie: Wired to Win

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posterWired to Win features the best cycling footage I have ever seen. Shot with four cameras mounted on motorcycles, lifts, and helicopters, the IMAX footage is unparalled. From shots that put you right in the peloton to shots that soar over the French Alps and Pyrenees, you are overwhelmed with the awesomeness of the Tour de France. Despite all this footage, however, this is not a movie about the Tour de France or even cycling. The focus of the film is a series of 3-D educational clips about the function of the human brain and how it copes with sensory input and adversity.

The producers of the film were lucky because they choose the 2003 Tour de France, which was one of the most exciting in recent memory: the Stage 1 crash that hobbled riders like Tyler Hamilton and film-focus Jimmy Casper, Beloki's horrific crash on descent in Stage 9, Armstrong's musette crash in Stage 15, Hamilton's solo Stage 16 victory with broken collarbone, Ullrich's crash in the final Stage 19 time trial that clinched Armstrong's fifth consecutive victory, and Baden Cooke's nudging of Robbie McEwen for the sprint jersey on the final stage in Paris. There were plenty of stories with which the producers would choose to weave a narrative about how the brain deals with adversity in order to win.

The producers chose to focus on Francaise des Jeux riders Jimmy Casper and Baden Cooke. Immediately following the footage fo the Stage 1 crash, we get to see Jimmy Casper being stuck into an MRI machine to scan for brain injury -- a perfect segue into an 3-D model of the brain explaining how fMRIs can show us where different functions of our brain are located. Casper's story is later mined for a clip showing how the brain deals with pain as we see Casper struggle to stay in the Tour de France after his crash.

I had a little trouble with these 3D brain clips, especially ones that flew you through fields of neurons firing. Seen at an IMAX scale, the appearance of flying through the brain translated into an actual sensation of flying in my body. I had to close my eyes after several of these clips in order to keep my dinner down.

There is a tension in the film with respect to Tyler Hamilton. Hamilton was originally the focus of the film, but after his blood doping conviction the film was recut to focus on the Francaise des Jeux riders. There are still some shots that showcase Hamilton, but there is no narrator pointing out the bandages for the broken collarbone, there is no mention of Hamilton's name whatsoever. Given the focus on Jimmy Casper's injury in the exact same accident as Hamilton's and Casper's eventual abandon several stages later, it would have been a great narrative complement to Caspar's story in the film. Unfortunately, Hamilton's later conviction took what would have been a great story of battling adversity and muddied it with the red flag of doping.

Stage 1: Liege-Charleroi

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07-04-04.stage1 profile

Stage 1 was an ugly stage, not ugly in the way last year gave us a spectacular crash on the finish line, but ugly in the constant, crash here, crash there, lots of rain-slicked roads sense. Many riders were wearing torn shorts and riding spare bikes by the end of this race, and even Hamilton managed to have a crash of his own, though he recovered immediately. Eisel got the award for most spectacular crash on camera, as he tapped the wheel of the rider in front of him while he was talking with manager in the team car. He managed to do a somersault on the pavement, spilling his team radio and other goodies out on the roadway.

Piil was part of a two-man breakaway, and perhaps he was hoping for a repeat of his breakaway from last year's tour, but the day was not ugly enough to cause that sort of mistake from the peloton.

What surprised me most about this stage was the finish. I was expecting the typical, Fassa Bortolo leadout that was so dominant in this year's Giro, but the leadout was broken apart, with Petacchi boxed in. Jaan Kirsipuu edged out an accelerating McEwen to add another stage victory to his belt (O'Grady and Cipollini had crashed late in the race). Perhaps the riders aren't going to let Petacchi get his stage victories as easily this year?

Prologue: Liege-Liege

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07-03-04.prologue profile

It was a good day for Armstrong, even if he didn't emerge victorious. He put 15' on Ullrich and 16' on Hamilton in the short, seven-minute prologue and finished a close second. (Side note: Phil Liggett, as much as I enjoy his commentary, never seems to know where the finish line is). He looked strong on his bike and I am encouraged at his prospects for this year.

Cancellara showed that he's the man to pull Petacchi towards the finish line. The young, emotional rider was a surprise name to see at the top of the standings, but he put in a strong ride.

Ascendency: Five in a Row

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The first was "The Comeback," the second was "The Confirmation." No one seems to have a good term for the third or fourth (Armstrong called the fourth "The Year of the Team;" I have a cool t-shirt that says "4-titude"). I prefer to call this year "The Ascendency" b/c he's finally climbed the ranks to join Indurain, Merckx, Hinault, and Anquetil as the elite set of tour riders that have one five tours. Also, he and Indurain are the only riders to have the dominant ability to win five years in a row.

This year has also set the stage for the future of Tyler Hamilton and Alexandre Vinokourov. Both will certainly figure in future TdF battles. Euskatel, with Mayo and Zubeldia, should also be a fun team to watch in the coming tours. Finally, let's hope that this year's performance that Ullrich will continue to come to play in TdF's and have less written about him in the offseason.

In other tour news: * Hamilton's efforts helped secure CSC's team win over Ibanesto.com. * Cooke beat out McEwen on the line to take the green jersey * Virenque kept his king of the mountains with his dominant lead of 137pts.
* Menchov also had a dominant lead in the youth jersey competition with a gap of 42'29". * In the jersey no one cares about, O'Grady gets to don the "Centenaire" jersey for this year's 100th Tour de France

Tour de France Stage 16: Pau-Bayonne

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stage profile

Hamilton Finish PhotoToday was Super Hamilton's day. After the peloton split and Hamilton fell into the back group, five of his teammates came back and bridged him back to the peloton.

With about 140 kilometers to go in the race Hamilton launched went off the front of the peloton to chase down the lead group. His teammate Sorenson, who up in the lead group fell back to bridge Hamilton into the lead group.

Hamilton joined the lead group on the first big climb (Col du Soudet) and never looked back. With Sorenson helping him along he was able to drop the other riders on the second big climb. He broke out a 5 minute lead on the peloton with about 30 kilometers to go, at which point he pretty much had the win sealed up. Despite possibly needing the seconds for the GC, he took the time to point at his team manager, Bjarne Riis, shake hands, and then cross the finish line. Armstrong even came up and gave him a hug as headed into the trailer to change for the podium.

stage profile

photoThis is backposted as I'm catching up via TiVo on all the Tour de France happenings. The big bullets from this one were:

1) Ullrich is the man and is back in form. He was the only rider to break the hour barrier at 58'32". He is also good at finding air conditioning.

2) Armstrong lost only his second time trial out of eight due to Ullrich's truckin' performance. Armstrong finished second at 1'36" behind. Apparently he lost about 8% of his body weight due to dehydration. He is not as good at finding air conditioning, but probably will be in the future (as he is also much better at eating now).

3) Vinokourov loses 30" to Armstrong.

4) How the hell did Tyler Hamilton pull on his handlebars (and ignore his back pain) long enough to finish 5th? I look forward to seeing him leading his team in future tours at full strength.

stage profile

Today was an awesome race to watch:

  • Beltran leading a blazing acceleration at the very base of Alpe d'Huez causing Ullrich (now 2'10" behind Armstrong in the GC) and Virenque to be dropped
  • Iban Mayo blazing up Alpe d'Huez looking faster than I do on the flats and landing himself 1'10 (3rd) in the GC
  • Tyler "Superman" Hamilton staying with Lance Armstrong the entire way up and evening launching multiple attacks. He now sits 6th in the GC at 1'52"
  • Beloki launching multiple attacks and getting reeled in. He's still in attacking distance for the Pyreness at 0'40" back (2nd) in the GC.
  • Heras pulling himself back into Armstrong's group to help control the tempo
  • Armstrong sprinting for the third place time bonus showing that he was still in control
  • At the end of the race Armstrong claiming that his brake was rubbing him back wheel for the first 200km. Whatever the reason, he admits it wasn't a "great day," though by the yellow jersey on his shoulders it was certainly a good result.

I'm really looking forward to the individual time trial a couple of days as well as the finish at Luz-Ardiden in Stage 15.

stage profile

lance armstrong photo by graham watsonVirenque gets to finish with two jerseys on his shoulders, which is a nice gift for his countrymen. He gunned through the stage and picked up both the Maillot Jeune (02' 37" in front of Armstrong overall) and the King of the Mountain.

Today was most interesting for me in who didn't finish, namely Petacchi who dropped out very early in the race after winning four of the previous six stages. With Petacchi dropping out so early I wish that they had let Cipo into the race so that the two sprinters could have duked it out. Also interesting was Botero and Simoni being broken on the climb, and Tyler Hamilton (broken collarbone) NOT being broken and gunning through.

stage profile

The Tour de France started yesterday with today being the first real stage (Saint-Denis/Montgeron - Meaux). It sounds like it was a doozy. Alessandro Petacchi took the sprint but plenty of top contenders crashed behind. Armstrong crashed with a bunch of other bikers but appears fine. Tyler Hamilton, unfortunately, is not, so we won't get to see him try to challenge his former boss. I'm currently missing all of this, so I think I'm gonna go to Circuit City tomorrow and get me a DirectTiVo to supplement my basic cable TiVo, as American sports bars simply don't appreciate the Tour de France (nor the fact that it's at 7 in the morning).