For Tyler Hamilton, the 2001 Liége-Bastogne-Liége is probably something best forgotten. Unfortunately for the U.S. Postal Service rider, the reminders of the race will linger for a good part of the spring.
Hamilton knows the roads around Liége as well as anyone else and as the peloton neared the small town of Stavelot, he began to move up in anticipation of the approaching climb up the Stockeu.
“Everyone was battling really hard for position since it was such a critical part of the race,” Hamilton told VeloNews. “A rider on my right side (Euskaltel’s Igor Flores) swung drastically to the right and took out my front wheel. It happened so quickly I didn’t really have time to react. I’ve never hit the floor so hard in my life.”
Hamilton hit his head and shattered his helmet, which prompted medical officials to send him to the hospital for a CAT scan. But the helmet took the brunt of the damage – his head wasn’t the problem.
“En route I started to realize I had a few other injuries,” Hamilton said from his home in Massachusetts. “I am pretty beat up at the moment. I have a fractured elbow, bruised ribs on both sides and a partially torn groin muscle.” All in a day’s work seems to be Hamilton’s attitude. Bruised, battered and just three days after the mishap, Hamilton was already working on his return. “I’ll be off the road and on the rollers for about two weeks and then we’ll see how the elbow is doing,” he said, adding that the timing was actually “pretty good.”
“Luckily I was scheduled for a bit of a break right now – so if something like this had to happen this season, I’m lucky it was now – versus during a heavy racing period.”