As you’d expect, I’ve been avidly following the Tour de France. It’s been incredibly exciting, especially when the race hit the Alps in the past few days. It’s been great to see the pros riding in the area where Damon and I went about this time last year.
Pennsylvanian Floyd Landis (right), raised a Mennonite link, former Lance Armstrong team mate, former mountain bike champion and to top it all off…secretly suffering from a degenerative hip condition, seems the strongest in the race.
He takes the yellow jersey during the first mountain stages in the Pyrenees but then decides to “give” his former team mate, Oscar Pereiro the yellow jersey by allowing him to gain 30 minutes in a breakaway, to take the pressure off himself and his Phonak team mates for a few days.
On day one of three in the Alps, Landis regains the race lead and the yellow jersey with a strong display.
Day 2 he completely blows on the last climb and loses about 10 min. Pereiro back in yellow, Landis dropping to 11th. Everyone writes Landis off for even the top 5.
Day 3 (yesterday) he cycles like a complete psycho, breaks away from the peloton on the first climb of the day, gaps his main rivals by 7-8 minutes, wins the stage and is rises to 3rd on General Classification, only about 30 seconds behind the leader.
Landis’ strong time trialling skills make it quite likely that he gains this time back on the decisive and penultimate stage on Saturday.
I’ve been wearing my Davitamon-Lotto team jersey link on the ride to and from work for the last couple of weeks as being from Melbourne, I’ve been supporting Cadel Evans link who is on track for the best ever placing by an Australian in Le Tour. I wasn’t that keen on Landis winning because up until yesterday’s effort, there didn’t seem much panache to his race, despite his strength. But his performance of the last few days has altered my opinion; if he can make up the 30 secs on Saturday, he will indeed be a fully deserving vainqueur (victor).
Photo borrowed from an article on Eurosport which summarizes the recent events in the Alps. link
* roughly translated from French as “Hats off”. Literally “hat” in French.
PS – I really hope he hasn’t been doping/taking drugs