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Hamilton Joins Phonak Cycling Team

"Race for Better Hearing" Takes on Additional Significance

February 2004, Warrenville, Ill. - Tyler Hamilton, a top-ranked U.S. cyclist, officially joins the Phonak Cycling Team as one of three team leaders, in his quest to capture the Tour de France title this year. Last year he earned a fourth place overall ranking in the Tour de France, and first places at the Tour de Romandie and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. His affiliation with the Phonak Cycling Team and its "race for better hearing" takes on additional meaning for Hamilton, as he has witnessed the life-changing impact a correct hearing instrument can have on someone's quality of life.

"Although we saw each other frequently, I did not really get to know my cousin, Charlie, until he was in the third grade," says Hamilton. "That's when he got hearing aids that worked for him." Hamilton's cousin, Charlie Adams, was born with sensorineural hearing loss that wasn't detected until he was almost two years old. "Racing for a mission on this team brings me extra motivation to get results and recognition for Phonak.," emphasizes Hamilton. "I know the difference it made for my cousin, and I know what having the right hearing aid can do for others."

Hamilton's cousin explains his hearing loss was discovered much like many other children who've had hearing impairment since birth. "When I was about one and a half to two years old, my parents realized I wasn't responding the way most kids were," Adams explains. "They determined nerve damage, but weren't able to pin-point the cause. They think it may have been connected with my mother being exposed to rubella when she was a kindergarten teacher."

As a small child, Adams was fitted with various body-worn hearing instruments. Although they provided a hearing link to the world, they were cumbersome and lacked some audio clarity. When Adams was nine, he was fitted with his first behind-the-ear instruments. Because his parents wanted their child to have the best hearing instruments available, they chose Phonak. Adams continues to wear Phonak hearing aids today.

"With the Phonak hearing aids, he was able to communicate," recalls Hamilton. Adams remembers the excitement of the instrument that eliminated cumbersome wires, enabling him to freely ride bikes around the neighborhood and "become the middle man" between Hamilton and his older brother, Geoff.

With parental insistence of continuing speech therapy classes, Adams graduated from high school and obtained his bachelors degree in Biomedical Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. Today, he is a sales representative for a medical supply company and covers the state of New York.

Hamilton's decision to join the Phonak Cycling Team was made independently of his personal experience with hearing instruments. In fact, he wasn't aware of the Phonak connection with his cousin until after negotiations to join the team were completed. But the coincidence does bring greater meaning to his affiliation with the team, and the miles he will ride in pursuit of his Tour de France title.

The Phonak Cycling Team is comprised of 24 professional cyclists from 10 different countries, along with a staff of 24 individuals such as directors, mechanics, and sports medical professionals. The team's competition season begins on January 31, 2004 with the Doha International Grand Prix in Qatar. For more information about Tyler Hamilton and the Phonak Cycling Team, log onto www.tylerhamilton.com or www.phonak.com

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