July 21, 2006
Stage 17 wrapup
Eurosport calls it “a performance that will go down as one of the greatest in the history of the Tour de France.” ProCycling: “an exploit worthy of Eddy Merckx.” Bob Roll says it's “the greatest single day ride in the history of the Tour de France.”
What Floyd Landis did today is all that even if you completely ignore his ride yesterday. Throw that in, and it's just incomparable.
The analysis after yesterday's Landis disaster was that he was out, because none of the GC riders' teams would give Landis enough rope today. The problem with that analysis is that it didn't consider that Landis might just go out and take as much as he needed. That's what he did. Landis versus 142 riders today just wasn't a fair fight; the peloton needed more guys.
Landis, quoted in The Guardian:
“I want to win the Tour, whatever I['ve] got to do, if I had a bad day, I had to make up for it,” said Landis.
“I told everybody last night that if somebody wants to win this race they're going to have to earn it.”
It was CSC who took charge of trying to lasso Landis on the day's final climb, but their Fränk Schleck said they also made an effort to reel him in when he escaped:
“We didn't let him go,” said the 26-year-old, “he was just so strong at the beginning and we didn't think he would make it to the end. He made it to the end and he's a f***ing strong rider. Chapeau to Landis.”
Carlos Sastre, CSC's GC man, said he expected Landis to attack today:
“I saw him this morning and I thought he would attack, but he just split the peloton in thirty pieces. He went like an eagle on the first climb and against that you can't do anything.”
I find myself wishing for the occasional 125-kilometer, 3-4 monster climb individual time trial.
“It would not be fair if I told you what happens next,” joked Landis, his answer referring to the incredible litany of upsets that have highlighted this so remarkable of Tours. “But it's obvious I would like to win this race.”
Subtitled “BEST. STAGE. EVER.” and featuring some excellent pictures from Ben Ross.