The Tour’s toughest guy
CSC’s American Tyler Hamilton surged into fourth overall after yet another stunning performance, passing both of the Basque riders with the Euskatel team, Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia finish second behind Great Britain’s David Millar.
“I benefited when Jan Ullrich crashed, Lance let up a little bit because he didn’t have to push so. That’s why I beat Lance and Jan,” said Hamilton, who’s raced nearly the entire Tour with a fractured right collarbone. “The course was very dangerous and very slippery. At one point my pedal slipped out, but I rode conservative enough not to crash.”
More importantly for Hamilton, he moved ahead two notches in the overall standings for fourth overall. While it’s painfully close to the final top-three podium, Hamilton said he was satisfied with his Tour performance.
“I’m very pleased to move into fourth place. I didn’t think I could take the time out on Zubeldia because he beat me in the first time trial,” Hamilton said. “I’ve done everything I could do in this Tour. Despite the problems, I’m very satisfied.”
The 32-year-old former Armstrong teammate raced the entire Tour with a fractured collarbone in a crash in the first stage, but bounced back to win stage 16.
“Tyler could have finished on the podium had he not crashed, but we are only celebrating our success now,” said Team CSC director Bjarne Riis, a winner of the 1996 Tour.