Rock Racing's Tyler Hamilton had to hold the reins on his time trial efforts in the Tour of California on Friday, saving himself to work for his team leaders Oscar Sevilla and Francisco Mancebo rather than going for the stage win.
The time trial has historically been one of Hamilton's strongest events, and his palmares include an Olympic gold medal, albeit a controversial one, in the discipline. "I hate having to ride easy in a time trial because it's always been my event. Sometimes you have to weigh your options and do what's best for the team. It's better for me to be up the road in a breakaway tomorrow or Sunday."
Hamilton will focus his efforts on helping to maintain Mancebo's lead in the Mountains classification and his position on the overall classification. "For me to go hard today would be selfish. What's best for the team is what's best for me."
Had he wanted to do well on Friday, Hamilton would have been frustrated from the get-go as his time trial came to an abrupt halt in the first few kilometres.
"I was shifting down into the 11 and I hit a bump and the chain jammed," Hamilton explained. He was forced to stop and correct the problem, but luckily it didn't interfere with his plans for the day.
"I was planning on going easy today anyhow. I was just going to rest. My form's not really so good right now. Rather than busting my ass trying to be in the top 15, it's better to rest up for tomorrow."
It was surprising to hear that his form wasn't good, as he featured in the day's breakaway on stage four and has been busy setting tempo for Mancebo after the Spaniard took the leader's jersey on stage one. "I've been suffering to be honest. I rode my butt off [on stage four], but I paid for it yesterday – I was really tired."
Hamilton finished the day in 93rd place.