June 12, 2005
Graham Watson on US civil war at Dauphiné
Graham Watson confirms what I thought about yesterday's stage -- he calls it the “best day's racing of the year.”
There was certainly a lot to like, with the re-emergence of Santiago Botero, the strong showing by traditional Tour strengths like Francisco Mancebo, David Moncoutie, and Christophe Moreau, and the gutty performance by Inigo Landaluze to narrowly protect his overall race lead.
Watson, however, is focused on what was going on with Armstrong, Leipheimer, and Floyd Landis. Watson believes Armstrong was riding partly to demoralize the World's Fastest Mennonite:
If there was ever any doubts still, it was when Lance eased off the Vino-Gomez attack to allow Leipheimer to catch up again that we knew they were working together against Landis.
If you are as puzzled as you should be, don’t worry. This is Lance’s way of showing Landis what life is like ‘after US Postal’ – and there will be more to come in the Tour de France, be sure of that. To make Landis’s day even worse, he overshot a bend with two-kilometres to go and skidded into the dirt, making it back to the race with only his pride hurting.
Shades of Brasstown Bald in there.
One story I saw had Armstrong catching Vinokourov and Gomez, then dropping back to tow Leipheimer onto their tails. Armstrong's not going to get a tremendous result out of the Dauphiné, but he definitely got a chance to test himself under fire, and he's looking both strong and sassy for next month's Tour.
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