American cyclist Tyler Hamilton, of Team CSC, won the 16th stage of the Tour de France Wednesday. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was at the finish in Bayonne, France and reports Hamilton has overcome a bad injury to stay in the top ten.
Before the Tour de France began, Tyler Hamilton was seen as one of a handful of cyclists capable of beating compatriot and four-time defending champion Lance Armstrong.
But he suffered a broken collarbone in the 35-rider collision that took place in the first full stage of this tour. However, Hamilton had worked so hard to prepare, he decided not to drop out.
Now, after winning the 16th leg, his first-ever stage victory in seven Tours, Hamilton is so glad he continued to ride.
"Up until today I'd been a little disappointed," he said. "This morning I was still seventh overall in the general classification, and under the circumstances I'd done a respectable tour so far with this injury. But I was definitely disappointed. I knew without the injury I could have been in a better position. But I think after today, I'll forget about the disappointment. This is great. It's great for me and it's great for the team. So I'm extremely happy."
The way Tyler Hamilton won was quite amazing. He rode on a solo breakaway the last 145 kilometers of the 198 kilometer mountainous stage that featured two steep climbs in the Pyrenees. Hamilton crossed the finish line 1:55 minutes ahead of main pack, that included overall leader and fellow-American Lance Armstrong.
Hamilton, a former U.S. Postal Service team rider with Armstrong, moved into sixth place overall, 6:35 minutes behind Armstrong. Armstrong's closest challenger, German Jan Ullrich, also finished with the main pack and remained 1:7 minutes seconds behind the defending champion.
Armstrong is aiming for a record-tying fifth straight victory in the Tour de France, which ends Sunday in Paris.