Adversity overcome

Was Tyler Hamilton Gutsy, or what! If you followed the Tour de France, you know. Here's a guy who in the first stage of the race goes down in a massive crash of 35 bikers. Two of them drop out because of injuries. Hamilton, who breaks his collarbone, is also reported as out. But to the amazement of everyone, he shows up for work the next morning. And he bikes so fiercely for the rest of that race he finishes fourth over-all, just six minutes behind Tour winner Lance Armstrong. (Armstrong, in his fifth win, overcomes his own pile of adversities—including health problems, two crashes, and a case of dehydration so severe that he loses 13 pounds in a single day.)

Keep in mind we're talking about one of the most punishing sporting events in the world. It's a grueling three-week trek of some 2,125 miles, including mountain stages through the Alps and the Pyrenees. This year the riders also had to contend with several days of scorching heat that melted blacktop, serious crashes that knocked several of them out of the race, and political protesters who temporarily blocked the course. All of which makes Hamilton's effort that much more impressive, that much more inspiring as an example of adversity overcome.

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