Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Yellow Floyd

(I wrote this on Sunday July 23)

It took me a while to find out the results of this years tour. The not knowing was driving me nuts. But I’m stuck in Cheyenne WY where most folks have never heard of the Tour de France and those who have don’t care. Since I don’t have a regular internet connection here, I’m dependant on a little coffee shop near my Dad’s house to my connections.

The tour had finished in the Pyrennes Mountains and had a couple days of rolling hills to get thorough. Then Phonak did what I consider to be the bone head decision of the tour. They let Spainard Oscar Pereiro, a known climber and pretty good all around cyclist, who was hanging around over 25 minutes back of Floyd Landis get out on a break away and the peloton did nothing to try and reduce his 29 minute lead on the stage. So one day after taking over the lead in the tour Floyd Landis lost it to Pereiro.

Then the tour reached the fabled climb up Alp D’Huez. Landis lost the stage but finished far enough a head of Pereiro to take back the yellow jersey. So with a slim 10 second lead over oscar Pereiro Floyd Landis and the rest of the tour entered the second day in the Alps. The hardest day of the tour. This stage was a 182 km run that included two above category climbs a cat 2 climb and ended on the top of the category 1 La Toussuire. Demarks Mickael Rasmussen finally decided to defend his polka Dot jersey from last year and got out on a breakaway. He took maximum points at the top of all four climbs, won the stage and secured the polka dot jersey for the second year in a row. The big news though is that Floyd Landis cracked on the final climb and finished almost 10 minutes behind the stage winners. This stage should have ended Floyd’s Tour. Coming back from an 8 minute deficit with only one mountain stage to race seemed impossible.

I guess Floyd should change his name to impossible man. Race Director, Jean Marie Lablanc, had this to say about Floyd’s ride in stage 17.

"the best performance in the modern history of the Tour" — adding that only a day earlier, he was "gone, finished, condemned."

Floyd won the stage by over 5 and a half minutes. He ended the day only 30 second out of first place and in striking distance to take over the race lead in the last individual time trial on Saturday. Which is exactly what he did.

Today, Floyd Landis became the third American to ever win the Tour de France, the 8th in row and the eleventh in the last 21 years to win this fabled race. Way to go Floyd Landis and good luck with your hip replacement surgery later this year. I hope we get to see him defend his championship next year or the year after.

The rest of the Americans finished:

Pos. No. Name Team Nat. Gap
1 071 LANDIS Floyd PHO USA
13 041 LEIPHEIMER Levi GST USA 19' 22"
24 016 VANDEVELDE Christian CSC USA 50' 19"
32 003 HINCAPIE George DSC USA 1h 11' 14"
64 064 HORNER Christopher DVL USA 2h 12' 25"
74 018 ZABRISKIE David CSC USA 2h 33' 46"

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