Landis Rides Away from the Field On the Day After His Disaster

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Bob Roll called Stage 17 into Morzine “the most exciting cycling race” he’d ever seen. Who can argue with that?

Floyd Landis’ performance today surpassed all of the epic rides I’ve seen in person or on television. The closest thing I can think of to the level of sheer effort expended by Landis was when Tyler Hamilton soloed into Bayonne on Stage 16 in 2003. The difference is that Hamilton wasn’t riding himself back into serious contention in the General Classification after losing over eight minutes to the field in the previous stage.

During one of the intermediate climbs today, Phil Liggett reported that the French media didn’t like Landis in the Yellow Jersey on previous stages because he “didn’t exhibit panache.” That’s not a problem anymore.

I wasn’t sure about Oscar Pereiro or Carlos Sastre‘s performances in previous stages: had they been great or simply good when others were terribly off? I think they both proved today that they each have guts enough to deserve the General Classification championship in the event that they somehow hold Landis off in Saturday’s time trial.

Everyone seems to be discounting the possibility of unusual tactics tomorrow, but after what we’ve seen in the past few days of the Tour, can anything be ruled out?

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