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Hamilton guts it out; Riis vows support

Tyler Hamilton plans to continue in the Tour de France after fighting off the pain of a broken collarbone to finish the second stage of the race Monday. Hamilton, who sustained the injury in a mass crash at the end of Sunday's first stage, finished in 100th place in the same time as winner Baden Cooke (fdjeux). "It hurt all day long, but the most important thing was that I made it to the finish. This morning I didn't think I'd be able to last for 10 kilometers," the CSC rider said. "I felt a dull ache, and it hurt on the bumpier sections. Fortunately the way the race went was perfect

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By Reuters

Tyler Hamilton plans to continue in the Tour de France after fighting off the pain of a broken collarbone to finish the second stage of the race Monday.

Hamilton, who sustained the injury in a mass crash at the end of Sunday’s first stage, finished in 100th place in the same time as winner Baden Cooke (fdjeux).

“It hurt all day long, but the most important thing was that I made it to the finish. This morning I didn’t think I’d be able to last for 10 kilometers,” the CSC rider said.

“I felt a dull ache, and it hurt on the bumpier sections. Fortunately the way the race went was perfect for me. Things started easy and then went faster. If we’d gone fast at the start, I’d have been in trouble.”

Just how long Hamilton, one of the pre-race favorites, could continue in the Tour was unclear, although he hoped to make it through Wednesday’s team time trial.

“I’m going to take it one day at time,” he said. “Now I just want to make it through tomorrow and then help the team in the time trial. My teammate Carlos Sastre has helped me a lot all season, and I’d like to help him by doing whatever I can in the team time trial. After that we’ll see. Fighting pain like that really tires you out, and I was tired at the end of the stage.”

Team manager Bjarne Riis praised Hamilton for finishing the stage and said he thought the American could even make it through the mountain stages.

“There’s no real danger in riding as long as he can support the pain,” said Riis. “If he made it through today he can make through the mountains.

“Tyler’s very sad about what happened, but he decided he wanted to carry on. He’s worked for nine months to be at his best for the Tour de France and committed himself 100 percent. He’s very brave, and we’ll do everything we can to help him.”

Hamilton had been considered a leading contender for the Tour title, behind four-time champion Lance Armstrong. He was second in last year’s Giro d’Italia and became the first American to win the Liége-Bastogne-Liége World Cup classic in April.