Cycling – Floyd Landis and the TdF

2006 Tour de FranceToday I watched what I will argue was the single greatest stage win in the history of the Tour de France.

Being a road cyclist, I am far too familiar with the “bonk”. Last year I hit the wall in the final kilometres of a ride that included Horseshoe Bay, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour… I almost ended up in an ambulance coming down Mount Seymour.

Yesterday, the leader of the TdF, Floyd Landis, hit the wall on the final climb of the most brutal stage of this year’s TdF and not only lost the “yellow jersey”, but seemingly lost any chance of winning the 2006 TdF. He dropped right out of the top 10, finishing 10 minutes behind the winner of the stage.

Today, over 5 mountain passes, in a sport that can sometimes measured in seconds, he took back 5 – 7 minutes out of his closest rivals. It was, in a word spectacular… even legendary. One of the greatest rides ever. He took off from the main pack in the first 45 kilometres and decimated the field over what amounted to a smokin’ 160 kilometre time trial. It was a ride of pride and anger. It was unbelievable.

He now stands 30 seconds out of the yellow jersey… and is favoured to take minutes more in the final time trial on Saturday. After today, he deserves it. He has defined this year’s Tour.

In cycling terms, this was beyond a 5 star performance.