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Tyler Tunes: Today was hard

It sounds silly to start out a journal entry with "today was hard" becauseevery day of grand tour is difficult. But today was hard, and Isuffered.A few weeks ago, I previewed the stages here in the Dolomites and Iknew right away that this was where the race would be won or lost. Therewere moments during today's stage when I was in so much pain I wanted tosit up. But when I looked around and saw my teammate gutting it out withme on the Passo de Fedaia I knew what I had to do - and that was to presson.The final kilometers of the Fedaia were tough. Guys were attacking andthe pace was pretty

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Stage 16: Conegliano – Corvara in Badia (159 km)

By Tyler Hamilton, CSC-Tiscali professional cycling team

Up, up, up and up some more...

Up, up, up and up some more…

Photo: Graham Watson

It sounds silly to start out a journal entry with “today was hard” becauseevery day of grand tour is difficult. But today was hard, and Isuffered.A few weeks ago, I previewed the stages here in the Dolomites and Iknew right away that this was where the race would be won or lost. Therewere moments during today’s stage when I was in so much pain I wanted tosit up. But when I looked around and saw my teammate gutting it out withme on the Passo de Fedaia I knew what I had to do – and that was to presson.The final kilometers of the Fedaia were tough. Guys were attacking andthe pace was pretty difficult. I wasn’t in any position to inflict thatkind of additional pain on myself. So I went my own speed. My trusty comradeCarlos Sastre, stayed with me to pace me along. We just kept steady andI did my best not to panic or crack.The strategy worked. And by the time we reached the summit Carlos, andMichael Rasmussen were with me ready to make up the deficit on the descent.We went right to the front of the group we were in. Michael lead the chargewith his fearless speed and cornering capability. By the bottom we wereback in the company of the boys we had lost contact with on the climb.I don’t know how it looked on television, but the Fedaia is a brutalclimb and it took its toll on more than one rider. Some of the guys whotried to make moves there paid for it later.The Passo Pordoi was no piece of cake either. But I had been able torecover a bit on the descent beforehand and was surrounded by teammatesfor the majority of the climb. Marceleno and Paco were able to catch onwith our group and were able to help set tempo at the base of the Pordoi.I know I have been saying this a lot – but my teammates have been ridingincredibly well, and have done an unbelievable job of supporting me. Onthe team bus after the finish, I jokingly asked them if they take VISAor MasterCard. I’m in some serious debt with these guys.By the top of the Pordoi the speeds had picked up again, but I optedto implement the same strategy as on the Fedaia, which was to stay withinmy limits. Actually, that makes it sound like I had a choice, when I didn’t.Let’s just say I did my best to get through it.On the descent I did a little Rasmussen imitation to catch back up withFrigo and Evans. At that point I was on my own with them and it was goingto be up to me to stay in contact with them through to the finish. Luckily,that’s just how it played out. With a lot of encouragement from BjarneRiis over the race radio, I was able to keep focused and charging righton into Corvara. To say I was relieved to see the finish line would bean understatement. Today, I gave it everything I had. With that, and myincredibly supportive team, we were able to maintain our footing for anotherday.It’s difficult to explain how different it feels to work for a resultlike I had in the time trial versus one like I had today. Both are hardfought, but in totally different ways. Climbing is extremely difficultfor me at the moment because I’m really only able to do so with the fullstrength of one arm. Under the circumstances of my shoulder injury, mysixth place finish was a lot tougher to come by than my victory on Sunday.Even though it may not look as impressive on paper.I’m happy to see a native English speaking rival in the Maglia Rosa.Cadel Evans is a great rider. This is his first grand tour, as I am sureyou already know. Which makes his performance here that much more incredible.He’s a big talent and is going to be a huge star in this sport, if he isn’talready.A few days back our team’s chef, Norbert, developed a case of the flu.Andrea Peron was unlucky enough to be the first to catch it from him. Hespent the rest day in bed with serious stomach ailment. But he’s foughthard to stay in this race, which is inspiring to say the least. Especiallytoday.Tomorrow’s stage is another doozy. With two climbs at the end, I’m goingto have my work cut out for me. Send me some good vibes.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: Troublecomes in threes… I hopeStage 8 Theroad to recoveryStage 9 Forza!Stage 11 NoExcusesStage 13 ASpecial Group of GuysRest day #2 Refuseto QuitCare to comment? Send ane-mail to our letters page.