16 July 2004


Tyler Hamilton is one of the best bicyclists in the world. He's currently competing in the Tour de France. Sadly, his longtime canine companion, Tugboat, died the other day. Not surprisingly, Tyler did poorly today in one of the Tour's most important stages. Here is the blurb that appeared at cyclingnews.com:
Not just a dog

Tyler Hamilton is in mourning for his friend Tugboat. For if the old adage that a dog is man's best friend [is true], Hamilton's big, friendly golden Labrador retriever was quite a buddy. Cyclingnews had the fortune to meet Tugboat a few years ago in Paris at the end of the Tour de France when Ty's wife Haven brought their beloved pet to the end of the Tour. Today we spoke to Hamilton before Stage 11 where the usually stoic New Englander told us about his emotional roller-coaster surrounding the loss of his best friend.

"Tugboat was like a family member to me," he said. "A lot of people don't know me or know the situation; they might think 'oh he's just a dog' but for me, it's hard, it's hard . . . just as hard as losing a family member. But life goes on and certainly (the loss of Tugboat) is a hundred times harder than what I went through last year." [Hamilton rode most of the 2003 Tour with a fractured collarbone.]

When we asked Hamilton if he thought the spirit of Tugboat might be with him during the rest of the Tour, Ty smiled and said "Yeah, I've got his tag right here," showing us Tug's red ID tag held around his neck on a white ribbon.
I send my condolences to Tyler and Haven.

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