Under-rated Hammond could star in Tour of Britain

An unsung hero for far too long, Roger Hammond could be the man to beat in the revived Tour of Brita

An unsung hero for far too long, Roger Hammond could be the man to beat in the revived Tour of Brita
It will be a far cry from the heat and dust of Central Athens and the intensity of the Olympic road race, but Great Britain's Roger Hammond could prove to be a strong challenger for the Tour of Britain which begins in Manchester tomorrow. Hammond's excellent seventh place in Athens was overlooked by the British media on a weekend when most attention was directed at his GB team mate, Nicole Cooke. For Hammond, who produced a ride that on another day might have clinched an Olympic medal, it was simply another day at the office. But following his excellent ride in last spring's Paris-Roubaix, seventh behind gold medallist Paolo Bettini was a clear sign that at the ripe old age of 30, he has reached racing maturity. Hammond, who races in Europe for most of the season for Mr Bookmaker.com is keen to show British fans what he can do, especially in the aftermath of the disappointment to the UK scene of the David Millar saga. "Hopefully I have held my form from the Olympics," he said. But Hammond knows that, with contracts being negotiated and the Pro Tour looming, the five day race will be a true test. "The first three stages are going to be tough, although I should be able to cope," he said. "There are some erally strong teams in the field and it's going to be tough."
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