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Tyler Tunes: Rest, relaxation and a touch of frenzy

I feel like we've kind of earned our first rest day here at le Tour 2002. No matter how many times you start this race, the first week is always a shock to the system. First, there's the stress of entering the world's most talked about bike race. Then there's that second nagging element that lingers in the back of every rider's mind. Bad luck can curse you at any moment during the first week. Folks always say the Tour doesn't start until the roads rise up toward the heavens. But it's also true that your Tour can surely end in the first week if you are in the wrong place at the wrong

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By Tyler Hamilton, CSC-Tiscali cycling team

I feel like we’ve kind of earned our first rest day here at le Tour 2002.

No matter how many times you start this race, the first week is always a shock to the system. First, there’s the stress of entering the world’s most talked about bike race. Then there’s that second nagging element that lingers in the back of every rider’s mind.

Bad luck can curse you at any moment during the first week. Folks always say the Tour doesn’t start until the roads rise up toward the heavens. But it’s also true that your Tour can surely end in the first week if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

All things considered, I’m fairly pleased with how the first nine stages have played out for me and our team. Sure it would have been great to see Denmark represented on top of the podium after the team time trial. And even better, it would have been the opportunity of a lifetime to see Laurent in yellow. Especially now that we know this will be his swan song at the Tour de France.

I cringe at the thought of him having a mechanical yesterday in the individual time trial. I want to see him do something special here at this race. But things can always happen that are out of your control. And getting a flat is one of those things.

I was a little bummed about my own flat tire yesterday in the time trial. But being around Laurent after the race changed my attitude. This guy is genuine first class. Even though he had to be frustrated, he never showed any sort of outward emotion regarding his misfortune during the stage. He definitely made me rethink my own situation. Needless to say, I changed my tune. In short, the man sets a fine example.

We boarded a flight to Bordeaux this morning. Most times we do a transfer the night before a rest day but this time, the transfer was part of our rest day.

We arrived at our destination just before lunch. This meant we had to fit in a quick ride for an hour or so after our arrival at the hotel. Then it was off to lunch and the rest of the normal rest day commitments. Of course, for our team, Laurent’s press conference announcing his intention to retire at the end of the season was priority one.

He has had such a huge impact on the sport of cycling throughout his career that it will be difficult for a lot of fans, as well as riders to see him hang up his bike. There are few cyclists in the world who have won as many races across as many disciplines as this guy.

We followed Laurent’s press conference with another featuring the entire team. It was a simple question and answer format. Afterwards it was a whirlwind of interviews and then we were off to dinner. It wasn’t until 8:30 tonight that I actually sat still for the first time.

I always say, rest days are as hard, if not harder than racing. At least when we’re racing, we’re on a familiar schedule and have a daily focus. Days like today seem like a schizophrenic mad dash left and right. Needless to say, I’m pooped.

Thanks for reading.


Tyler Hamilton and Jonathan Vaughters are sending in regular updatesfrom peloton throughout this year’s Tour de France.To read other diary entries go to the “Riders’Diaries” section and follow the appropriate links.