Stage 7: Circuito Della Versilia – 159km
By Tyler Hamilton, CSC-Tiscali cycling team
Sorry for the late journal. I spent about three hours on the massage table tonight.
We made it through another day. Today’s stage was contested over three laps around the same circuit. There was a fair amount of climbing and descending within the course, so I was a little nervous about how my body was going to handle it all. Luckily, I made it through without incident.
I’m in good hands this evening. In addition to my regular soigneur, Sandra Hodnett, our physical therapist Ole Kaire Foli is back for another visit from Denmark. He’s the same fellow who turned around at the airport to help me out after my spill in the prologue.
He’s a remarkable man. I had originally thought he saw the coverage of the race on television and that was what prompted him to return to our team hotel to treat me that day. But it turned out that while getting ready to board the flight, he had an overwhelmingly bad feeling come over him. When that happened he called Bjarne Riis to see if everything was okay. That’s when he learned of my crash. I guess you could say Ole has a sixth sense.
Ole was originally scheduled to return to the race on Tuesday, but in light of my situation, made the decision to come back to the Giro a little bit early. This makes three additional days I’ve dragged him away from his home. I’m going to owe his wife big by the end of this race. But selfishly, I’m relieved to see him.
Ole is a longtime friend of Bjarne’s. He was part of the winning mix of supporters that helped him achieve so much success in his racing career.
Ole’s incredibly gifted with what you could only describe as a healing touch. He focuses mainly on tapping into the body’s energy system via pressure points throughout the body.
While he’s working on you it doesn’t always feel like much is really happening. He doesn’t pound at all. Instead he uses very focused efforts to release stress and open up injured areas so they can heal properly.
He’s worked on me quite a bit this year and has found more than one old injury to “unblock.” The first time he helped me out I asked him how often I would have to see him to treat the area he had just worked on and he replied, “That’s all healed.”
He has been sharing his knowledge with Sandra quite a bit. She has been instrumental in keeping me in the game here at the Giro.
Last night she reassigned the other riders she works with to different soigneurs so she could give me some extra attention. She was implementing techniques Ole had showed her on my shoulder.
It had really seized up after the stage and she went to town on a few pressure points that were giving me trouble. The process of loosening things up was pretty painful. So much so, I had to do a shot of gin to dull the pain.
Sandra is an incredible asset to the CSC-Tiscali team. She is one of two female soigneurs we have, but probably the only female here at the Giro. The supporting roles of most teams are largely filled by men. It’s very difficult to prove yourself and be accepted within this community if you are woman. But Sandra has made an impression on everyone through her hard work and reputation for over delivering on just about everything. We are lucky to have her on board. Not just because of her work ethic, but also for her sarcastic Irish wit. This, when you are in my situation, often provides a much needed excuse to have a good laugh.
In addition to Sandra and Ole, our team doctor Piet De Moor has also been a huge help in patching me up. Piet has cleaned my wounds and bandaged me up every night – in addition to giving me the stitches in my back. He’s had his hands full attending to all nine riders every night. But he never gets stressed out which is really an asset. The last thing any rider needs after a crash is someone freaking out around them. Piet’s cool.
There have been a couple of serious breakaways in the previous two days that have given a few guys substantial time improvements overall. As a team, we haven’t been too concerned about these time gaps.
I’ve been instructed to keep my eye on Garzelli, Simoni and Casagrande. Staying in step with these three fellows is my primary concern, because we know they each have the potential to be strong in final week and in the mountains. I know I have been zig-zagging all over the standings during this first week, but at this stage of the race, with everything considered, I’m right where I want to be.
Congratulations to Michael Sanstod for winning the Tour of Picarde today. This is a big victory for him and for the team. Good results raise the morale of everyone within the organization – so thanks for the boost Sanstod. We’ll celebrate when I get back to Spain.
It’s time for me to put Ole back to work for another session.
Thanks for reading.
Editor’s Note:Tyler Hamilton is sending diary entries toVeloNews.com every other day throughout the 2002 Giro d’Italia. Click belowfor his earlier entries.The Prologue: Noworse for wearStage 2: Gettingon TrackStage 4: Charginginto StrasbourgStage 6: Trouble comes in threes… I hopeCare to comment? Send ane-mail to our letters page.