20 July 2006

Tour de France - Floyd goes backwards

If Floyd Landis had been reading this blog carefully over the last few days, he might not have been in the position he occupies now. I'm still fairly sure he had the opportunity to put down the hammer blow yesterday on the Alpe d'Huez. He didn't, because he was riding a 'conservative' race - and look where that got him. Today the hammer was put down on him, and he couldn't respond on the Col de Toussuire, where he lost an astonishing eight minutes within fifteen kilometers of the final climb. Of course he had already made the mistake of letting a principal rival, Oscar Pereiro, take a twenty-eight minute climb back to contention earlier in the race - but we know that Floyd has a relatively inexperienced team which he wanted to rest, and that might be forgiven him. But it wasn't his 'team' who have saved him in the last couple of days. It has been Axel Merx (yes, son of Eddie) doing stalwart service protecting his leader. Time to move on maybe, Axel? OK - there's a difficult mountain stage tomorrow, and a 57 kilometer time trial on Saturday, but it's difficult to see how Floyd can pull back that eight minute deficit now, given that there are so many talented riders in contention. One thing I will say. It's a lot more interesting now that boring old Lance Armstrong isn't in the race. At last you feel that this is a genuine competition, with possibly less doping. More of which anon.

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