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Landis brings home the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France

The French rite of summer has just come to a close and the modest county, Mennonite kid from San Diego has brought home the gold, the yellow jersey.  Floyd Landis made the mostly ceremonial ride in to Paris today.

There’s something to be said for a sports event that lasts for 23 days, like the European month long vacations. 

from the very fine

Michael Rasmussen’s tremendous breakaway win to La Toussuire, overshadowed by Landis’s attack the following day, shot him to the lead, and the overall win, in the climber’s polka-dot jersey competition.

Damiano Cunego, already a winner of the Giro d’Italia, takes the best young rider’s white jersey, just 38 seconds ahead of Marcus Fothen of Gerolsteiner. The pair were about 90 minutes ahead of the next competitor in the under-25 competition.

Saunier Duval’s David de la Fuente, the climbing jersey leader until Rasmussen’s big day out front, takes the overall “most combative rider” prize.

Landis took his final yellow jersey of the Tour with his daughter Ryan on the podium.

Post-race interview with Frankie Andreu: Landis says, “Right now, I have no intention of switching teams.” Leaves a little wiggle room, but sounds like the iShares team (as Phonak will be called next year) has its Tour captain for 2007.

Top 10:
1) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, in 3:56:52
2) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, same time
3) Stuart O’Grady, CSC, Australia, s.t.
4) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
5) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
6) Samuel Dumoulin, AG2R, France, s.t.
7) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, Austria, s.t.
8) Anthony Geslin, Bouyges Telecom, France, s.t.
9) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
10) Peter Wrolich, Gerolsteiner, Austria, s.t.
Stage results

1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 89:39:30
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d’Epargne, Spain, at :57
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:29
4) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:13
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 5:08
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 7:06
7) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 8:41
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 9:37
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:05
10) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 15:07
Final overall standings


Floyd Landis – Superman? from worst to best in one day

Two days ago Floyd Landis had one French newspapers depicted at the “worst performance in Tour history”. (pictured left on the podium with Bernard Hinault the five time Tour winner)

Yesterday, Floyd had what may be called the best peformance in Tour de France history.

The 30-year-old Landis, who said two weeks ago that he would soon need a full hip replacement, rebounded to ride alone to victory by almost six minutes in yesterday’s mountain stage.

The effort jumped Landis, who rides for the Swiss Phonak team, from 8 minutes, 8 seconds behind race leader Oscar Pereiro of Spain’s Caisse d’Epargne to third place, 30 seconds behind Pereiro and 18 seconds behind Carlos Sastre of CSC.

Landis performance was legendary, but he’s not satisfied. 

If you want to read a great cycling bloggers rundown, check out Martin Dugard’s blog, here’s a tidbit from that blog entry:

“That he did. Per his style, Landis didn’t explode away from the peloton in the manner of most breakaways. Rather, he gradually left a yellow jersey group containing Oscar Pereiro, Cadel Evans, Andreas Kloden, and Denis Menchov. He tiptoes away like a cat burglar, as if afraid of drawing attention to himself. Landis then began an 80-mile individual time trial, constantly dousing himself with water on this humid mountain afternoon, at one point pulling so far ahead that he was the virtual leader of the race.” . . .

Ah… but when Floyd crossed the line today, fist thrust into the air and a scowl on his face, Amber Landis jumped up and down. “Oh, baby!” she screamed, fighting back tears. Only this time they were tears of joy. And, if I am to be honest here, I was a little misty, too…

So tomorrow the stage is a little on the downhill side, a 120-mile run from Morzine down into Macon. Teams might try to take a little bite out of Landis, hoping to gain a few seconds on him before Saturday’s time trial. With Pereiro (with whom Landis ate breakfast this morning, just the two of them) 30 seconds in front and Sastre 18 seconds up, Landis is close enough that a powerful time-trial Saturday will likely win him the Tour.”

Like I said, it’s a great blog entry from a guy who was sitting watching the race with Amber Landis. 

This race, can you believe it, could go right down to the Champs Elysees on Sunday.



Floyd Landis amazing recovery

“I am here to win the Tour de France” was the reply given when he was asked to comment on his amazing comeback in today’s stage of the tour de france at the podium. At the start of the last mountain stage, the favourites for the yellow jersey were, the current holder Oscar Perreiro, Menchov, Carlos Sastre, Dressel and a few others. But Floyd Landis wasn’t even counted as a contender anymore.

At yesterdays mountain stage, Landis lost 10 minutes to Perreiro for an overall deficit of 8 minutes.

Coming into the final mountain stage today, no one expected Landis to be in the top 5 fnish let alone the maillot jaune (yellow jersey), but after todays incredible breakaway from the peloton, Landis managed to build up a 7 minute lead which he held on till the finish of the 200.5 km mountain stage with steep ascents amounting to upto 10 degrees in the final 20 kms.

Today’s stage was an awesome comeback by Landis, who had been written off by the Frech Press sometime back, when he held the yellow jersey, as some one who wasnt really worthy of it.

Like the OLN announcers said, Landis seemed like a man possessed. He didn’t know what went wrong yesterday having cracked in the final 20 kms losing a huge 10 minutes. He made no excuses and today he was the man to reckon. 

As of today Perreiro leads in the general classification, with Sastre 12 seconds behind and Landis 30 seconds back. So who’s it going to be? Saturday’s time trial should tell the tale of this year’s Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong, Cat Osterman, Vince Young and Matthew McConaughey at the espy’s

Vince Young and Cat Osterman: Big 12 Athletes of the Year

Vince Young and Cat Osterman have been named the Big XII Players of the Year. Vince Young led his team to a last minute victory in the Rose Bowl and became the first person to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. Cat Osterman had a 38-4 record this season with a 0.42 ERA. She pitched 36 complete games with 28 shutouts, 5 no-hitters, 11 one-hitters, 12 two-hitters and also set a CWS record with 18 strikeouts in a single game.

So it’s not too surprising that Cat and Vince were also nominated for the same award at the 2006 ESPYS. Cat won an award for best female college athlete, Young won for “championship performance” and UT’s victory over Southern California in the Rose Bowl was named best game.

Lance Armstrong emceed the event and did a great job as a deadpan comedian, proving that Saturday Night Live wasn’t just a fluke.  He pointed out Austin’s Mathew McConaughey in the audience as the “sexiest man alive” and then chided the audience that you don’t all have to look at him, we know what he looks like, then he motioned to Gyllenhaal, the co-star of “Brokeback Mountain,” and said “Up here Jake, eyes front!”  Answering his own question “What am I doing here” he said he told the producers “Are you kidding, I would give my left ball” to do the gig.

Lance Gets Bawdy at the ESPY Awards| Jake Gyllenhaal, Matthew McConaughey, Lance Armstrong

“Lance Armstrong raised eyebrows – and got laughs – as host of Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards, where he cracked crude jokes about new best friends Jake Gyllenhaal and Matthew McConaughey.” – People

The actors, who’ve been photographed recently clad in Spandex and biking with Armstrong, were in the audience at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre. Armstrong, in a reference to Gyllenhaal’s Brokeback Mountain role, asked why Gyllenhaal was sitting in the front when Armstrong thought he preferred to be “in the rear”. . . Of the theater, people.” – People

Armstrong took a punch at the World Cup runner-up French Soccer team, saying “all their players tested positive … for being assholes.”  Part of the Lance Love Hate French thing.
People: At the afterparty at the Mondrian Hotel’s Skybar, Armstrong, McConaughey and Gyllenhaal hung out with actors Cole Hauser and Matthew Perry, while Arizona Cardinals footballer Matt Leinart stuck with Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo. Other guests included Ashley Judd, Brandy, Venus and Serena Williams and Kiefer Sutherland.
And there were the young Afghan girls who were honored by the ESPYs with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for defying Taliban authorities to play soccer.

Here’s the link to the YouTube video of Lance at the Espy’s


Tour de France alp d’Huez – the moment of truth has arrived

Alp d’Huez – the first major climbs of the Tour de France
picture left – “No dad, I beat you by 30 minutes on Alp D’Huez, not 20 minutes.” a tour watcher at TourWatch 2005 at Central Market.  You’ll see more of this little scene in the world premiere of our upcoming video podcast of TourWatch 2005 on July 30th.  We’re not at Central Market this year watching the Tour, but we have video of last year’s huge event that we’ll publish online.

So today is Alp D’Huez and I’m watching on OLN.  This is Floyd Landis chance to put his stamp on the Tour de France.  But there are many challengers.  Usually, the Tour the winner of today’s stage goes on to win the Tour de France.

Tour de France Stage 5 – flying Australian

Austin, Texas – Last year we were sitting at Central Market watching the Tour de Lance and this year we are at home watching OLN channel 470 on Time Warner (and getting more work done). OLN is doing their usual terrific job. Beauvais to Caen – The fifth stage of the 2006 Tour de France is getting under way today, Thursday in the northern French city of Beauvais.

Yesterday the flying Australian Robbie Mcewen won the sprint and Thor Hushovd got “relegated” to 148th place, I guess for pushing the guy next to him near the finish. Pooh!

Floyd Landis is playing it cool riding in the “safety zone” outside of the dense peloton. Phonak is riding out in front most of the time. Today’s stage 5, which covers 225 kilometres or 139.81 miles to the city of Caen in Normandy, presents the 172 riders left in the race with only four modest climbs and is likely therefore to end in another mass sprint to the finish.

1 kilometer = 0.621371192 miles

World road race champion Tom Boonen of Belgium had been expected to rule the stages, but his best showing so far has been a second place on Monday. The 25-year-old sprint specialist for the Quick Step team has been upstaged by last year’s Tour de France sprint champion Robbie McEwen, who won his second stage of this year’s Tour on Wednesday and took over the green jersey of the sprint points leader.

However, when Thursday’s stage got under way, Boonen was still dressed in the Tour de France’s most important color, the yellow jersey signifying the leader in the overall standings. He leads another sprinter, Australian Michael Rogers, by 1 second, with American George Hincapie 5 seconds behind in third place. The standings are not likely to change much until Saturday’s 52- kilometre individual time trial, which may go some way towards revealing the contenders for this year’s Tour de France title.

Is this the broken Tour? said it

If at first you don’t succeed, keep on trying. This was the motto of Matthias Kessler who stuck to his guns and won the classic stage from Esch-dur-Alzette in Luxembourg to Valkenberg in Holland.

The previous day he had been wiped out just 50 years from the line, but not this time. It seems a lot of riders were tired after over 10 hours beneath a very hot sun in the past two days. But behind the joy of a German winner, the was a lot of sadness as Alejandro Valverde, Fred Rodriguez and Eric Dekker all left the race with broken bones. Fred is the main lead-out man from the US for Aussie Robbie McEwen. Fast Freddy, as he is known fell badly with Dekker and first reports say that he broke his wrist while Dekker has done the same to some teeth. All three were personalities that the race badly needs, but the loss of Valverde means the loss of a real overall favourite. This, ironically, will favour the fortunes of American favourites George Hincapie, Floyd Landis and Levi Leipheimer, who today saw a danger man leave the Tour.

end quote

This year’s Tour de France, man. A lot of broken men, broken bones, doping allegations, Lance sitting at home in Austin. What’s going on? I’m watching this year, and pulling for Hincapie, Landis, Leipheimer and the Norwegian Thor Hushov (it’s in my blood).

Is the Tour getting ripped to pieces? comments: “The previous day he had been wiped out just 50 years from the line, but not this time. It seems a lot of riders were tired after over 10 hours beneath a very hot sun in the past two days. But behind the joy of a German winner, the was a lot of sadness as Alejandro Valverde, Fred Rodriguez and Eric Dekker all left the race with broken bones. Fred is the main lead-out man from the US for Aussie Robbie McEwen. Fast Freddy, as he is known fell badly with Dekker and first reports say that he broke his wrist while Dekker has done the same to some teeth. All three were personalities that the race badly needs, but the loss of Valverde means the loss of a real overall favourite. This, ironically, will favour the fortunes of American favourites George Hincapie, Floyd Landis and Levi Leipheimer, who today saw a danger man leave the Tour”.

This years tour seems to be getting ripped apart. First the doping dropouts, now the crashes. Lance is at home in Austin watching and commentating from afar, at least Thor Hushovd is hanging in there at 4th and Landis is still alive and in the top ten.

Hincape was in yellow for a spell

Casper the stage, Hincapie in yellow, Hushovd injured in sprint

Race leader Thor Hushovd was taken away in an ambulance at the end of Stage 1 in Strasbourg. It appeared that Hushovd, sprinting right along the right edge of the road, caught a fan’s green hand-shaped cardboard cut out, slicing his arm just before he hit the finish line.

It was a chaotic sprint, and favorite Tom Boonen went too soon, and couldn’t go top 10 ( says Boonen may also have hit a fan). Robbie McEwen switched off wheels from Hushovd to Boonen, and as he does, appeared in the thick of it at the last instant, but he waited a touch too long, and the French got their first stage win of the year: Jimmy Casper of Cofidis, who edged McEwen and Milram’s Erik Zabel.

Discovery Channel’s George Hincapie takes the race leadership, after a clever attack for an intermediate sprint that gave him 2 seconds bonus, against the possibility that none of the riders near the top of the GC competition would take bonus time from a top-3 finish on the day.

Kessler wins stage and Boonen is in yellow

Kessler gets his stage, Boonen gets his yellow jersey

Matthias Kessler attacked over the Cauberg and kept his lead to the line, avenging his last second loss yesterday, earning T-Mobile probably its first bright spot of the 2006 Tour. Booen won by a single second over Rogers. Lanis is in 7th.

Just 5 seconds behind, world time trial champion Michael Rogers led in a group of strongman sprinters. In 3rd on the day was Lampre’s Daniele Bennati, ahead of world champion Tom Boonen, who had made no secret of his intent to take today’s stage.

He can take solace in the yellow jersey, the first ever for the 25-year-old world road champion, as Thor Hushovd came in 62nd, at 17 seconds back.

Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Carlos Sastre, Paolo Savoldelli, Yarolav Popovych, Jose Azevedeo, Denis Menchov, Andreas Klöden, David Millar, Sergei Honchare, Cadel Evans, and even Gilberto Simoni all made the break to come in 5 seconds behind Kessler.

Top 10:
1) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, in 4:57:54
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :05
3) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, same time
4) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, s.t.
5) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
6) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, s.t.
7) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.
8) Eddy Mazzoleni, T-Mobile, s.t.
9) Georg Totschnig, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
10) Fabian Wegmann, Gerolsteiner, s.t.

General Classification:
1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :01
3) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :05
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at :07
5) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :15
6) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, at :15
7) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :16
8) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d’Epargne, at :15
9) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :17
10) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, at :17