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July 21st, 2006:

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.