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July 20, 2006

Epic! Landis rides their wheels off; takes Stage 17!

Landis triumphantToday was the most amazing day of an amazing Tour de France.

Floyd Landis splintered the field on the day's first climb. Phonak went to the front and pushed the pace, and then Landis attacked. The GC riders initially countered, but Landis lifted the pace and rode away, with about 130 kilometers and five climbs to go. Landis hunted down an 11-man break then time-trialed alone to the finish line, holding a punishing pace to his first career Tour stage win.

Oscar Pereiro's Caisse d'Epargne team couldn't bring the gap down, and finally, as it reached more than 9 minutes, dropped back, and CSC took over. The gap was slowly reduced until on the day's last and hardest climb, CSC's Carlos Sastre launched a withering assault on the remnants of the peloton.

It was too late to catch Landis, but Sastre hoped to stay ahead of Landis on GC, and to crack Pereiro and possibly take the race lead. Pereiro kept his head, and limited his losses enough to maintain his yellow jersey. For now.

Despite huge gaps between riders on the road, the Tour only gets closer: Pereiro now leads Sastre by 12 seconds, Landis by 30 seconds, and Klöden by 2:29. Landis is the best time trialist of the group, and Saturday's time trial looks decisive.

Landis is the 9th American to win a Tour stage: Landis, Hincapie, Armstrong, Zabriskie, Hamilton, Lemond, Hampsten, Phinney, Pierce.

Top 10:
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 5:23:36
2) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 5:42
3) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 5:58
4) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, Italy, at 6:40
5) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, Netherlands, at 7:08
6) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, at 7:08
7) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 7:08
8) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 7:08
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 7:08
10) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 7:20
Full results

Overall:
1) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, in 80:08:49
2) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at :12
3) Floyd Landis, Phonak, CSC, at :30
4) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 3:08
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 4:14
7) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 4:24
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 5:45
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 8:16
10) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 12:13
Complete standings

Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Oscar Pereiro, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink

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Julia: holy crap you're right! http://www.tdfblog.com/ He's back in the lead. After being in 11th place and 8 minutes behind. Un-freaking-heard of. They have *got* to play this stage tonight in prime time. [Read More]

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Tracked on Jul 20, 2006 10:48:32 PM

Comments

Today has to be one of the most impressive rides in the history of the TDF. Simply astonishing after yesterday's collosal collapse. I'm absolutely shocked. Landis, even though he's in third, has to have the advantage going into Saturday's ITT. I can't wait to watch it.

Posted by: Jason at Jul 20, 2006 12:10:17 PM

The way he pumped his fist when he crossed the finish and the way he was walking and looking at everyone around him after he got off the bike and then saying, "Nothing less than the yellow in Paris will satisfy..." (paraphrased)

A couple of days ago he wanted to be sure that his team didn't go home too tired.

Now, Floyd is a BADASS.

Posted by: Rex at Jul 20, 2006 1:13:28 PM

I smell yellow for Floyd . . .

Just look at Stage 7 (the first long ITT) Results:

2. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak, 01:02:44

18. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 01:03:54 (er, +1:10)

23. Oscar Pereiro Sio (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-I.B., 01:04:24 (er, +1:40)

Do the math!

Posted by: Eric at Jul 20, 2006 1:27:27 PM

What happened to Leipheimer? After riding himself into position to challange for the podium, he finishes 21 minutes back.

Posted by: bill at Jul 20, 2006 1:43:33 PM

Yeah Rex, I got that impression too.

Did anyone else hear him yell at the guy pushing him off from his bike change? I couldn't tell if he was saying "GO GO" or "Let go!", but he sounded really pissed.

Posted by: Eric at Jul 20, 2006 1:46:19 PM

I spent the last 20 kms pacing around my living room yelling at the tv, cheering Landis on from 5000 miles away! What an incredible display of sheer determination and raw desire, whatever happens in Paris, Landis has written his name into the TDF history books -- well done man!

Go Floyd Go!

Posted by: Sheila at Jul 20, 2006 2:48:46 PM

Time to wash down a bunch of spaghetti with some ice cold Coke, Phloyd. Chase it with some Twinkies if you have to. Just stick it to the Frenchies one more time!

Posted by: Spinner at Jul 20, 2006 3:06:26 PM

When your ride gets compared to those of Eddy Merckx, you know you've done something special. I read over at Velonews that Merckx called Phonak's director after stage 16 and told him it wasn't over, that they had to attack, and I guess Floyd took a little of Eddy with him when he attacked so far out.

In some ways it's a pity that Lance never found himself with his back against the wall like Floyd. One wonders if he could have come up with the same kind of performance? Of course, it's a credit to Lance that he managed to avoid bad days like Floyd had yesterday (save for one day in 2000 or 2001), but it would have been fun to watch Lance take the risk that Floyd did today.

Posted by: Kurzleg at Jul 20, 2006 3:14:33 PM

Spinner -

Er, Sastre and Pereiro are Spanish. Kloden's German. Evans and Rogers are Australian. How, exactly, is Floyd sticking it to the "Frenchies"?

Posted by: Kurzleg at Jul 20, 2006 3:16:18 PM

Yeah, I think that after today, the French are going to like Landis just fine.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 20, 2006 3:21:53 PM

Kurzleg -- yeah, I was wondering that also. I highly doubt his motivation today came from some deep desire to kick Sandy Casar's butt.

Inspiring effort by Landis today. Without trying to sound too corny, what a lesson in determination and never-quit-ism, no matter the odds. I love it! Far and away the coolest thing I've ever seen in the TdF.

Eric, I saw the bike switch just before I left for work, and couldn't figure out what he was saying either -- but it was obviously clear he had a fire inside of him. They interviewed his coach about the same time, and asked him if he was nervous that he kept dumping water on himself -- he said no, not when his knees were jumping up and down like they were. He wasn't kidding, obviously.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 20, 2006 3:30:21 PM

I find it interesting that, leading up to this year's Tour, many articles on Floyd (Outside, Bicycling, NY Times, LA Times, etc) portrayed him as "The Rebel", complete with rockstar shades, reverse-hat on the podium tendencies, Kid Rock looks, and of course, that tell-it-like-it-is "Floyd unfiltered" attitude.

Yet, when it came to today, one of the greatest stages in Tour history...he rode like a true classic (Merckx, Hinault, Coppi), destroying the competition on a long solo break with SO MUCH ON THE LINE.

So, which is it? Rebel or Throwback? I say THROWBACK.

BTW, Looking at time deficits for today's stage...they look like GC standings after 3 weeks of racing. Total carnage!

Posted by: asg at Jul 20, 2006 3:40:12 PM

Although I love Chechu Rubiera something awful, I want to have Floyd's baby.

He IS the MoFo of the Mountains!

Posted by: Marty Pants at Jul 20, 2006 3:53:15 PM

wow. the dramma of this year's TdF matches any of Lance's tours.

Posted by: gchu at Jul 20, 2006 4:18:10 PM

The French do not like Americans when it comes to this sport -- I'm not talking about French cyclists participating in the race, but rather about the French press, director, etc., who hated Armstrong (who deserved to be hated at times, one could rightly argue), blamed dirty cycling and doping on him until this year's ironic probe, looked long and hard to find something to hate about Floyd (he lacks "panache," etc.), and would love to see anyone BUT an American win. Thus, Floyd being an American, he'd be sticking it to the Frenchies -- the ones who hate Americans, anyway.

Posted by: Spinner at Jul 20, 2006 4:26:40 PM

On the sticking it to the French thing -- if Spinner is referring to the French press stating that Landis lacked panache, well, I guess in that case I agree -- panache this, French media!

Posted by: Dave at Jul 20, 2006 4:32:47 PM

Yesterday after Floyd’s implosition, I was a bit disappointed. Still, I was saying that this is the one of the best tours that I remember in 20 years of watching because of all the surprises. The suspense from each stage to the next has been constant and I have enjoyed not knowing who would win. That was before today when Floyd found his form and then some. This stage win was truly incredible. I love it; this is racing at its best.

Posted by: James at Jul 20, 2006 5:25:01 PM

I have been following the TDF for at least 15 years. This ranks as the greatest single effort in a stage during that time for me. I just couldn't believe it was happening!

Posted by: Paul at Jul 20, 2006 6:55:39 PM

Okay, I'll take the troll-bait Marty. This stage, never mind this tour, had the drama of Lance's tours. Put together. Plus all of Indurain's.

Even before today's stage, this Tour has been an epic. Yesterday's stage had as much drama, pathos and competing storylines as a good Russian novel. And then today's stage was even better.

You can argue that the true strong men aren't here--Basso, Ulrich, Valaverde--and that's true. But that's made it better. What we have are men with the hearts of champions, but not always the legs to match. That has made the racing far better than it ever was during the reigns of the modern tour Patrons like Lance and Indurain.

Lance had some great rides, but the last time an American did anything close to this--a superhuman clutch performance--was Lemond's time trial into Paris in 1989. That was the best Tour during my lifetime, and I really didn't expect to see a better one. Now I think I have, and there are still three days left.

Posted by: Jeff at Jul 20, 2006 7:33:32 PM

So much for the French newspaper opinions about Floyd lacking panache - he didn't just define the word today, he ripped their balls off!

Posted by: Andy at Jul 20, 2006 8:43:48 PM

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