By Shane Stokes in Giubiasco
British rider Roger Hammond has had a tough time on the opening stages of the Tour de Suisse, but said on Wednesday morning that he was starting to come around.
"I feel okay and I am getting a bit better now. I was feeling very jet-lagged for the first few days as I was in Philadelphia [doing the Commerce Bank Triple Crown series – ed.]. I was feeling pretty messed up!"
He is hoping to be selected for the T-Mobile team for the Tour de France, especially as it starts in the UK this year. "I don't know if I have to do something here to make sure of the Tour place. I hope not, because it is not my kind of terrain! But I kind of have to show that my condition is okay.
"I couldn't show that on the first few days because I certainly wasn't going very well. Before I came here I went to Dunkirk and Rheinland-Pfalz and I was riding well there. Then I went to the States and I was smashed up for the first five days there, before coming good for the final race. It was the jet lag – some people can take it, some people can't. It just takes me a bit longer to get over it. I know I don't travel very well anyway, which is unfortunate for a bike rider! I have never been good on trans-Atlantic ordeals.
"I had only a very short time [to recover] to come here but I needed to come here if I want to do the Tour. I will just try to survive. Anyway, I felt so much better yesterday so I want to race again."
As Hammond pointed out, he is more a rider for flatter terrain than is found in Switzerland. He performed solidly yesterday, finishing 26th in the bunch gallop to the line.
The T-Mobile team for the Tour de France is likely to be announced after the Tour de Suisse.