July 17, 2003
Tyler Freaking Hamilton has updated his rider diary at VeloNews, and discusses some back pain that may be resulting from a pinched nerve:
On Tuesday morning, the pain woke me up about an hour ahead of our scheduled wake up call. No one gets up earlier than they have to at the Tour. So this was serious. I couldn't take a deep breath. It was like I got an instant cramp every time I tried to suck in a lot of air. And the pain would dart around my side into my chest. The feeling made me a little more than nervous.
Regarding Monday's stage, the last in the Alps, and the stage where Beloki went down:
I couldn't sprint when guys attacked, but I could ride a pretty steady pace on my own that eventually got me back in contact with powerhouses up front. It was a dangerous ride as well since the tar was soft and pretty slippery in some spots. It was really a shame to see Beloki go down like he did. My read on the crash was that he had hit a slick spot where the tar had melted, had his wheel slip out, then got caught up on dry pavement. The speeds combined with the elements made it impossible for him to control his bike. It was a bad situation. And it could have happened to any one of us.
But how about Armstrong, though? I've never seen anything like what he did. The guy just keeps making bike racing history. We could see him crossing the field as we made our way around the switch back. When he darted back into the road I couldn't believe what I was watching him do.
I instinctively threw out my arm to try and give him a push to help get him up to speed, but then I realized I had reached out with my right arm, which is the side with my collarbone fractures. At the last second, I pulled my hand away. I don't think I would have been much help to him anyway. He seemed to have the situation under control. Although his heart rate must have been over 200 at the time.
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