Tyler Hamilton, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, begins his hearing with the US Anti-Doping Agency today in Denver. He has long said he will be able to overturn the blood doping positives found in last year's Vuelta a Espana. He has many supporters who believe in his innocence but his central role in Brain Power, an IMAX film which should have premiered late last year, has been much reduced.

Tyler’s role in IMAX movie downplayed by distributor

Brain Power is to be distributed by nWave Pictures of New York.

In an nWave press release from July 7th 2003, the film is said to explore "the extraordinary processes of the human brain by following world-class, professional cyclist, Tyler Hamilton as he trains and participates in the Tour de France."

At a screening of rushes of the film at Cycle 2004 in London in September, Hamilton was featured as the only protagonist.

Fast forward to February 24th and Tyler is not mentioned in an nWave press release. Instead, Brain Power becomes the "dramatic story of pro-cyclists dealing with the stresses, dangers, and conflicts of the Tour de France."

The film no longer has a central character:

"Brain Power will follow several Tour riders as they cope with pain in the high Alps, experience a "fight-or-flight" situation on a steep downhill switchback, struggle to maintain mental focus and wage a constant mental war between extreme exhaustion and their motivation to reach the finish line in Paris."

Two of the cyclists featured in the new cut of the movie – not, it must be said, current Tour de France riders – will be TV commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.

The film is now slated for a November 2005 premiere, with general release in Spring 2006. This is more than a year later than originally planned.

In August 2003, nWave Pictures president Mark Katz told BikeBiz.com:

"The 40 minute large format film will be available in all 70mm film formats. There will also be a shorter version in Digital 3D. All versions are scheduled for release in the fall of 2004."

The film, when released, will be a major fillip for cycling.

Director Bayley Sillick believes he’s got some of the best-ever film footage of the Tour, thanks to the four IMAX cameras, one of which was remote-controlled and suspended from a helicopter.

As well as the PR potential of the film itself there’s to be an accompanying educational website and the 2006 roll-out of the Brain Power National Educator’s Symposium in the US.

nWave said this will bring together scientists, teachers and representatives of community organizations to share ideas and strategies with neuroscientists, neuroscience literacy experts, and educational development professionals in order to "develop creative and unique programs for their own communities and to broaden the educational impact of the film."

In the spring of 2006, the Brain Power Science Communications Conference will be an international forum that will examine how the "scientific community and leading communicators inform the public about scientific discovery and the process of scientific research."

Tyler Hamilton meantime is today facing three days of questioning from USADA, the US Anti-Doping Agency.

In December, he said:

"My wife and I have been plugging away at the research, and speaking with various legal and medical experts about my case and the possible reasons for the results of my tests. This is an all-consuming process. Most days we have to remind ourselves to take a break. You can think, and rethink and over think every detail until you make yourself crazy, especially when you consider some of what has been reported in the media.

"We are just like everyone else. We read every story and examine every quote to garner as much information about my case as possible. What’s astounding is how much the story seems to keep evolving over time and how many inconsistencies there are in the chronology of my case."

Yesterday Hamilton’s former Phonak team-mate Santi Perez was given a two year suspension for blood doping by the Spanish Cycling Federation.

Hamilton is still training ("I haven’t missed a day on the bike," he said 1st February) and is "lean and mean", say fellow US pro riders, but risks the same length of suspension as Perez, a ruling that would all but finish his career.

Brain Power is a multi-million dollar movie project seed-funded by Partners HealthCare, sponsored by Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc., and was grant aided by the US National Science Foundation.




Got $4400+? Bid for a dinner for four at Tyler’s house, with Andy Hampsten as chef, all proceeds to the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, a charity which helps MS sufferers and youth roadies: http://www.cmarket.com/…/itemDetail.do?ID=d106cfb391ca3601107098436cf8da41

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