OK, so he actually only finished fourth. But he did it with a broken collarbone he suffered on the first day! And he finished over six minutes ahead of the best Frenchman.
All is not 'huzzah' and 'bully for you!', though. The French, who are still trying to cope with an American repeatedly winning their crown jewel sporting event, now have to endure their best cyclists getting punked by a one-winged man! They're not taking it too well. Career Tour second fiddle Raymond Poulidor said that Hamilton should have given up after his injury:
"'In my opinion it's useless what he's trying to do," Poulidor told AFP.
'It's a brave attempt but, if he really does have a double fracture then it would be better for him to give up the race. Once he really needs to start pulling on the handlebars it's going to be very painful.'"
Of course, being French, he should know about giving up. The 1987 Tour winner, Irishman Stephen Roche, was also less than enthusiastic
about Hamilton's performance:
"'It's definitely been blown out of proportion. It's totally ridiculous,' Roche told AFP prior to the start of the 11th stage from Narbonne to Toulouse.
'If the doctor says it's broken or fractured then he shouldn't be racing. It's as simple as that.'"
To Roche's credit, though, he did predict a top-five finish for Hamilton before Stage 11, but even that was a left-handed compliment:
"'A top five finish? I think it's still possible. He got through the Alps okay and so the Pyrenees shouldn't be any problem.
'We'll be passing nearby Lourdes soon, so maybe he should light a candle.'"
Denial is but the first stage in learning to cope, so it's pretty clear that's where the French are with regards to Hamilton; they think that he overstated the extent of his injury or even faked it altogether (disclaimer: secondhand info, with another secondhand reference here)!
"Last week Didier Rous declared that Hamilton could not possibly have a broken collarbone and said outright that Hamilton was faking. French sophistication and class in your face. Hamilton's team manager Bjarne Riis provided X-rays this weekend which were shown on French State TV in order to dispel any doubts. This guy Rous has some fucking big mouth, especially considering that any French rider with so much as a broken fingernail will obtain a doctors' certificate and load up on prescription drugs before leaving the race. "
Count on Merde In France to pull no punches.