July 23, 2006

"Never stop believing." : Three days after one of the most remarkable comebacks in any sport, Floyd Landis wins the 2006 Tour de France.

posted by lil_brown_bat to other at 11:50 AM - 20 comments

At the risk of seeming pedantic

posted by Fat Buddha at 12:08 PM on July 23, 2006

Not pedantic, just irrelevant. The Tour de France concluded today, not three days ago (follow the link, follow the link, follow the link).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:53 PM on July 23, 2006

Did it really finish today? Gosh!

posted by Fat Buddha at 01:19 PM on July 23, 2006

This is a great story all the way around. Floyd wanted and deserved his place in the storied Tour history.I hope this increases American appreciation and participation in the sport.

posted by sickleguy at 02:40 PM on July 23, 2006

Thanks miz bat. I haven't really had a chance to follow it much. Nice wrapup for me.

posted by justgary at 10:28 PM on July 23, 2006

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Tour. A few thoughts: In hindsight allowing Periero such an enormous advantage earlier in the race gifted him a podium spot. The French had two (2) riders in the top 10! Wow. CSC and T-Mobile both did very well even without Basso & Ulrich, their top talent. The incredible stage win and overall win by Landis is even more impressive given the relative weakness of his team. Armstrong was indeed an excellent rider but always had the peloton's strongest team protecting and setting the pace for him. Floyd did not. Th excitement of this Tour has overshadowed the whole doping scandal but be sure more active riders will be caught using whatever means it takes to endure and succeed.

posted by JohnSFO at 10:53 PM on July 23, 2006

The French had two (2) riders in the top 10! Wow. Ahem. So did Australia (Evans and Rogers), plus Robbie McEwen winning the green jersey again.

posted by owlhouse at 02:32 AM on July 24, 2006

So an American has won Le Tour eleven times in the last 21 races? I bet the French aren't liking that much.

posted by JJ at 05:31 AM on July 24, 2006

And now.... "Released in French newspapers today, American Tour de France winner, Floyd Landis, accused of performance enhancing drug usage." Sarcasm, but wouldn't be surprised.

posted by Stealth_72 at 07:15 AM on July 24, 2006

It's just sad that nobody seemed to notice. It didn't get the press coverage that it warranted.

posted by Tinman at 10:37 AM on July 24, 2006

Tinman, what are you talking about? The news magazine shows (Best Damn, Around The Horn/PTI, Mike & The Mad Dog, admittedly I can't sit through Quite Frankly or Jim Rome) have been on the TdF/Landis story for the last week straight. Considering cycling lost its greatest American star ever last year, the profile is still fairly high. PTI especially was routinely putting it in the first block, even. Considering most Americans still don't know a peloton from a pile of puppies, I'd say the coverage by the sports outlets, from what I've seen, has been fairly good. And as long as there are interesting Americans at or near the front of the race, it'll probably continue to get an honest chance, especially in the last week of the Tour. Floyd has tons of backstory, and he's an interesting guy. Let's hope his operation pans out and he can stay at the top of the sport for a few more years.

posted by chicobangs at 11:18 AM on July 24, 2006

Havig watched every stage of the tour i can tell you that it ranks as one of the best ever. Watching Landis take the yellow jersey, give it away, get it back , lose it on a day he completely drained his energy bank and then get back in the race with an epic ride was awe inspiring. Floyd YOU ARE THE MAN!

posted by Cubfan276 at 11:41 AM on July 24, 2006

Thoughts... 1) Unbelieveable tour. Unbelievable performance by Landis. 2) As an American, I find the "this must be killing the French" train of thought to be a bit juvenile. Okay, a lot juvenile. No Frenchman has won the Tour since 1985 -- only five have placed on the PODIUM in that time -- and it's fairly well-known that LeMond should have won '85. Which should give an indication that the Armstrong-hate was purely individual, since the French are used to the situation. 3) In general, the event has a far wider pool of athletes competing than in the past, so it does make sense that France is less of a factor in this race. You can add the Dutch and Belgians to the list. The Spaniards and Italians are still hanging in terms of the Grand Tours. But in general, it's the Germans and the Soviet Bloc who have joined the Americans in turning this sport on its head. 4) If T-Mobile ever pulls its organizational head out of its ass, I like Kloden for '07, regardless of Landis' condition.

posted by jackhererra at 02:18 PM on July 24, 2006

In hindsight allowing Periero such an enormous advantage earlier in the race gifted him a podium spot. But with foresight, wasn't this an odd decision anyway? It's not like we're talking about some chump -- the guy finished tenth last year, and tenth the year before that. How do guys like Leipheimer, Sastre, and Evans decide that they're so much better than Pereiro that he's not a threat?

posted by Amateur at 02:22 PM on July 24, 2006

Maybe that should be the name of this year's tour. "Tour of Underestimation"?

posted by jackhererra at 05:20 PM on July 24, 2006

I put this year's Tour right up there with the '84 Olympics.

posted by graymatters at 06:22 PM on July 24, 2006

But with foresight, wasn't this an odd decision anyway? It was a decision born out of a mixture of necessity and collective weakness. If you look back to the period between the first time trial and the Pyrenées stages, the French press was right: Landis had ridden conservatively, the jersey was being passed around, and each stage felt more like a one-day Classic than part of a Tour. Without a patron or dominant team, there was simply not enough collective will or energy to bring back Pereiro and the break on a long, hot flat stage with the mountains ahead. That Saturday breakaway transformed the Tour as much as those two astonishing days in the Alps. And after Landis's ride back on Thursday, the headlines in L'Équipe were not begrudging in the slightest: the mouse had roared, and set himself up to win in exactly the way that the French appreciate most. (And let's not forget Rasmussen's win at La Toussuire, where Landis cracked: he basically told his directeur sportif that after riding for Menchov the previous day, he was going to go out the way he'd wanted all along, and he wrecked the field.) In spite of it all, it was a Tour for lovers of bike racing -- as in, actual racing.

posted by etagloh at 10:16 AM on July 25, 2006

Without a patron or dominant team, there was simply not enough collective will or energy to bring back Pereiro and the break on a long, hot flat stage with the mountains ahead. I think that's exactly it. After so many years of USPS/Disco controlling the race essentially from start to finish, I think the peloton was confused. Periero siezed that opportunity. With such a strong performance he would have been quite the domestique for Valverde had he not crashed out...

posted by JohnSFO at 10:36 AM on July 25, 2006

After thinking about it a bit more, I'm not sure it's "confused" so much as "conflicted." None of the strong teams was really organized around a single leader. Phonak knew who they were riding for, but were not strong. CSC, T-Mobile, and Discovery still had riders competing for different objectives, at least on the day in question. As a result, there were team members (and directeurs) who were unwilling to contribute to the pacemaking that day. Discovery is a team of strong riders, to be sure, but in this Tour they were not a strong team. For the past few years Lance rode with eight guys who were sacrificed to him whenever he needed it, and to hell with their personal results. Nobody really had that this year.

posted by Amateur at 11:08 AM on July 25, 2006

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