14 July 2006

Tour de France - Floyd Landis emerges

The race reached its first decisive stage yesterday: five difficult climbs in the Pyrennes which split the riders asunder in dramatic style. The narrative of events was not so spectacular - but it was a wonderful and impressive display of a long term strategy at work. In the past, riders have often made lone and heroic breakaways to put themselves beyond the reach of their rivals. Fausto Coppi's greatness was often demonstrated this way. And Charly Gaul - who won the Tour in 1958 - was another.

But what we saw yesterday was the setting of a relentless tempo on those crippling climbs in such a way that only the top echelon of riders could survive the pace, and all lesser mortals were burnt off. Landis stamped his authority on the race in magnificent fashion. It was an epic performance which had me on the edge of my high velocity armchair throughout.

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