Tour shorts: Tyler, Padrnos, Merckx

Tyler says goodbye to one of his closest friends, Padrnos named in Italian investigation, Merckx doe

Tyler says goodbye to one of his closest friends, Padrnos named in Italian investigation, Merckx doe
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE * While most of his colleagues were enjoying a day off from the travails of the Tour in Limoges on Monday, Phonak team leader Tyler Hamilton was spending a final day with his golden retriever, Tugboat, which was diagnosed with cancer recently. A faithful companion for Hamilton and his wife Haven for the past nine years, the affable Tugboat starred in many of the stories written about the American rider, including one in procycling earlier this year. When Hamilton heard that Tugboat would have to be put down, he asked Haven to drive up to Limoges with the dog from their Spanish home in Girona so they could all spend one last day together. Team-mate Oscar Sevilla said of Hamilton: "He's had a very sad afternoon and hardly stopped crying. All the team are trying to help him get over it." * According to this morning's edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport, a San Remo court has set October 27 as the date for initial proceedings of an inquiry into possible doping by seven riders and two soigneurs during the 2001 Giro d'Italia. The seven riders involved include Stefano Zanini and Pavel Padrnos, who are both riding the Tour, as well as Giuseppe Di Grande, Giuliano Figueras, Ermanno Brignoli, Alberto Elli and Dario Frigo. Involvement in this inquiry could lead to Padrnos and Zanini being thrown off the Tour as Martin Hvastija and Stefano Casagranda were over the weekend. * Axel Merckx was not a happy bunny when he reached the finish in St Flour yesterday, accusing Richard Virenque of breaking a gentlemen's agreement for the two of them to work together all the way into the finish. "Virenque didn't stick to his word," said Merckx. "We had an agreement. He took the mountains points, and we were going to reach the finish together and then fight for the stage win. I went up the Puy Mary climb at my own tempo, but he accelerated. I thought he was going to wait for me. I don't trust his word. He was undoubtedly influenced too much by the fact it was the French national day."
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