By Tyler Hamilton, CSC-Tiscali cycling team
It was another heartbreaker for CSC-Tiscali.
It would have been great to see Jacob Piil give it a real go there in the final sprint – but yet again, our team was the victim of unfortunate circumstance. On the brighter side of things however, we’re lucky Jacob wasn’t hurt. Seeing him clip out of his pedals like he did and then recover, was nothing short of incredible.
Great bike handling on his part. I’m sure he rode into the finish with shaky hands though. I can’t imagine what was going through his head during those final meters. We’ve had so many close calls in this race, but that’s all part of the sport.
Nicki Sorensen put forth a great effort today as well. He followed the first attack of the day and it stuck. It was good to see him up there in the break after doing so much work for the team throughout this race. His efforts paid off. He moved up to 19th overall. And, his ride combined with Jacob’s helped move CSC-Tiscali into third place overall in the team competition behind U.S. Postal and ONCE.
Our day’s high note was seeing Laurent Jalabert seal up the climbers jersey. This is a really big deal for him and for the team. There are few riders who can show sprinting and climbing talent on their career resumes. But Jaja is an exception. He’s probably one of the most well rounded bike racers the sport has ever known. I’m really happy for him.
More good news came to us today about Michael Sandstod. He was well enough to make the transfer by ambulance back to Spain this evening. He was accompanied by a physician from Denmark and two nurses from France. Quite an international contingent. Keep your fingers crossed that his recovery continues at the pace it has.
Yesterday was full of odd encounters. On the final climb I had to swerve to miss a pregnant woman standing in my way. I would have felt awful if I hit her. But then again, I don’t know what she was thinking standing in the way of oncoming riders. Even going up hill, we’re clocking along fast enough to take someone over.
One of our team soigneurs had a difficult afternoon. After arriving in the feed zone to get hand out our food bags, his team car inadvertently locked itself with all the food trapped inside. The peloton was only ten minutes away so there wasn’t enough time to call or ask for help. So he had to take matters into his own hands and smash a window to get to the food. I can’t imagine what his heart rate was during that little episode….
You may not know this, but my teammate Arvis Piziks is currently second to last in this year’s Tour de France. As you may know, the Lanterne Rouge is given to the rider who finishes dead last. Each year there a few guys duking it out to see who will claim this coveted honor.
Arvis hasn’t really given the Lanterne much thought. Until today. As the race was finishing, there was quite a cross wind, so he decided to sit up a bit on his way in. When he did this, he realized Igor Flores, the rider currently in last place, was keeping a watchful eye on him. Igor wasn’t leaving anything to chance and decided to hold up until Arvis passed him. I bet you didn’t know there were competitions going on at both ends of the GC list.
Thanks for reading.