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American Tyler Hamilton has suffered a major emotional blow on the Tour de France after discovering that his dog Tugboat was suffering from cancer and would have to be put down.
“My best friend, my dog, I’ve had him for nine years – he has cancer really bad, and we have to put him down to rest,” Hamilton told reporters after Wednesday’s 10th stage of the Tour de France.
“For me he was like a child. I’ve had many great years with him,” added the Phonak team leader, who has been followed on the Tour by his wife and dog in recent years.
“Just my dog and my wife and I, it’s kind of a regular family here,” Hamilton said. “We’ve treated him like a king, that’s for sure. He’s traveled all over the world and has had a great life.”
Fourth in the Tour last year despite breaking his collarbone, Hamilton lost seven seconds in Wednesday’s stage to St Flour after the bunch split near the finish.