July 19, 2004
Hamilton on early exit
Hamilton says he knew immediately he had done some damage to his lower back.
Similar to the strategy I used in the 2002 Giro, we didn't want to speak publicly about my back because we didn't want the other teams to attack us, especially during the trickier stages 10 and 11. My team did an incredible job of protecting me and got me to the first mountain stage in the best possible shape under the circumstances.
Preliminary X-rays have not revealed any fractures. But and MRI scan scheduled for later today may show us what we suspect to be true. The doctors think the impact has either badly pulled or torn the ligaments and muscles in my lower back. This would explain why I couldn't climb like normal.
The decision for Hamilton to withdraw was made by team director Alvaro Pino, who ordered that Tyler drop out if he couldn't climb with the race leaders.
This is a crazy injury. One that I cannot control or overcome just by willing myself to do so. I would take the pain of two broken collarbones over this any day - and keep riding if I could. But something has come unplugged. So it's time to rest and start thinking about the races up the road. I'm hoping to be well enough to still compete in Athens. And there's always the Vuelta to consider. But first things first, which for now is recovery.
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I just read the journal entry, and every time I read or listen to Tyler Hamilton, my opinion of him goes up. I really hope that he can get back to the Tour next year and keep it on two wheels.
Posted by: Dusty at Jul 20, 2004 12:13:50 PM
Your a true professional. I appreciate your style and grit. I wish you well in recovery and in future life events on and off the bike.
Posted by: George Pep at Jul 20, 2004 12:43:07 PM