By Tyler Hamilton, CSC-Tiscali professional cycling team
After a long stage that finished on Ventoux yesterday, I was happy to have a bit of rest this morning. And I had some company as well. In the form of the four legged furry kind.
My wife made a surprise trip up from Spain along with our dog Tugboat yesterday. He decided to spend the night at my hotel versus getting back into the car to travel on with Haven. It was nice to have him around, although we found out the hard way, that my roommate Carlos Sastre is allergic to dogs.
After spending only a few minutes in our room with Tugs his eyes and legs started to swell. But he was a sport about it all.
Instead of sleeping in the dog hair contaminated room, he moved in with one of our directors, Johnny Weltz. I felt really bad about the whole situation. But luckily it all worked out, and by this morning, Carlos was fine.
As for Tugboat, he’s been making himself busy by chewing the daylights out of one of the Credit Lyonnais lions CSC-Tiscali was given while leading the team competition during the early stages of the race. He kind made the executive decision that one of my three miniature lions would become a dog toy. He has yet to put it down. He’s even sleeping on it like it’s some kind of pillow.
Normally, Tugboat likes to go to town on his toys until he can get the stuffing out of them. So, I’m going to have to keep an eye on him with the lion, because ecause you can’t get a replacement model at Petco.
This afternoon, our team had a press conference. Tugboat did his best to steal the show by running around with his new best friend in his mouth. He’ll definitely be famous in Denmark tonight. Especially after having performed his favorite cookie off the nose trick for the cameras. Some guys just can’t get enough attention.
We’re spending our rest day in high style. The hotel we’re at is a bit like a country club, complete with a golf course, swimming pool and a couple of restaurants. Each room is really an apartment. After two and a half weeks in cramped little hotel rooms I feel like I’m hanging out in a mansion. I even have a back porch over looking the 18th to hang out on. Not too shabby.
The rooms are equipped with huge American style bathrooms. When I arrived last night Carlos was in the tub with enough bubble bath to clean six team buses. A guy’s gotta take advantage of these opportunities when they come up, I guess. It’s not often you get a tub to lounge in over here.
Carlos wasn’t the only taking advantage of the amenities. Jacob Piil spent so much time in his hotel issue white terry robe that I was starting to think he might go to dinner in it. He was walking around the parking lot, going back and forth to the massage therapist and just plain relaxing in it. It was a pretty funny sight. Someone commented that he looked like a hospital patient on the loose. Luckily, he changed back to his normal clothes before we ate.
It was hot like you read about during yesterday’s stage. All of a sudden it’s summer here in France. The weather’s been really bad in Europe this year with lots of rain and unseasonably cool temperatures. It’s a bit of a shock to be baking all of a sudden. And today is no exception. It’s steamy again. And somehow, even though it’s Africa hot, I managed to pick up a cold. Go figure.
Next stop, the Alps. On paper, it appears we are heading into the most difficult final week of my six Tour de Frances. This baby’s far from over.
Thanks for reading.