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July 20, 2006 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Today's Tour de France stage was legend-making.
posted by Wolfdog (93 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
YES. Floyd Landis deserves to be on the front cover of all the newspaper sports sections in America tomorrow.

I am sure that this post will get panned but I am 100% with you, Wolfdog.
posted by moxyberry at 11:08 AM on July 20, 2006


The comparison to Merckx is appropriate.
posted by Falconetti at 11:10 AM on July 20, 2006


Amazing finish for a guy who just yesterday cracked pretty hard.

This year's race has been the most interesting in a while, as with the previous years, Lance pretty much had the race in the bag already. As of now, I don't think you can pick any one rider who is going to pull off the final win.
posted by rand at 11:11 AM on July 20, 2006


Eye of the tiger

This has been a good tour.
posted by caddis at 11:12 AM on July 20, 2006


Seen on Velonews live stage report:

"We have a lot of French friends in the pressroom at the Tour, and we're not usually ones to complain or give them grief, but yesterday, one headline declared that Landis had the jersey after the Alpe, but did so without class:"

Maillot Jaune sans Panache said the headline.

Well, check the road, guys. To paraphrase our friends from Brooklyn:

"We got your panache right here, pal!"
posted by jaimev at 11:12 AM on July 20, 2006


Bloody hell, that's quite the comeback. (I wish the Tour was on council telly in the UK, reading about it is no fun.)
posted by jack_mo at 11:13 AM on July 20, 2006


Well, obviously he met with Lance and had his blood doped overnight.

(I keed! I keed!)
posted by yhbc at 11:20 AM on July 20, 2006


Why is it that that Cycling News article reads like a string of telecom company ads?

"Phonak rider Floyd Landis"
"Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile)"
"Klöden's T-Mobile squad"

...

seriously, is all the commentary on this sport so laden with advertising? I'm not a cycling fan, so I'm genuinely curious.
posted by gurple at 11:24 AM on July 20, 2006


Gurple, cycling teams essentially exist because of sponsorship. Every pro team has a primary sponsor and almost a dozen others. It's not so much advertising as "we are paying the bills for your entire team."
posted by moxyberry at 11:26 AM on July 20, 2006


Fitting that -- in the year after Charly Gaul's death -- Frank Schleck, also from Luxembourg, wins on L'Alpe d'Huez and then Landis regains his shot at winning in a suicide breakaway (shades of Charly Gaul's attack to win the '58 tour.)
posted by dseaton at 11:28 AM on July 20, 2006


And to follow up: unlike other pro sports, there isn't a "team name" outside of the sponsors. They're not the USA Discovery Channel Yankees or Danish CSC Lakers - they're simply referred to as Team (Sponsor): Team Discovery Channel (or Disco, affectionately), Team CSC, Team T-Mobile, etc.
posted by moxyberry at 11:28 AM on July 20, 2006


The ride of the century. Every rider cracks at some point - even Mercx and Armstrong. Great riders come back from it.
posted by brighton at 11:29 AM on July 20, 2006


Teams' budgets come from their corporate sponsors, for whom it is an advertising investment. Compare it to the case of most American professional sports, where the team is a business unto itself; every mention of a pro sports team name is, ultimately, advertising a business, no matter the sport.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:32 AM on July 20, 2006


Awesome. I would not have believed that Landis had it in him after his bonked ride yesterday. Absolutely fantastic! And it seems that Le Tour has some life in it this year after all.
posted by bluesky43 at 11:35 AM on July 20, 2006


Landis had an incredible ride today - unbelievable!

This has been the most exciting Tour in a long, long time. Perhaps it took Lance retiring and the latest doping scandal to make it happen.

The following really makes me like Landis even more:

"After Floyd Landis regained the lead of the Tour de France at the top of L’Alpe d’Huez he decided that he wanted a beer to celebrate the moment. On the road down to his hotel, his team car pulled over and the American traded a yellow jersey for a six-pack of beer with a spectator."
posted by birdsong at 11:37 AM on July 20, 2006


Yesterday's Red Sox game was also pretty great.

By which I mean to say: An FPP about a single stage in the Tour de France? If we got posts about (even spectacular) single games in the World Series, or the World Cup, or the NBA playoffs, people would be livid. But because it's a not-much-followed sport, it's okay to post? Come on, this is NewsFilter at its least informative.
posted by Plutor at 11:40 AM on July 20, 2006


Doesnt do it for me. However, nobody snarked too hard when we were posting fpps about world cup matches...
posted by subaruwrx at 11:47 AM on July 20, 2006


Aw, Plutor, we made it a full 15 comments! People congratulating Landis, sharing their insights and feelings about the Tour, and generally bonding gleefully... And then you came in and shit on the thread. I thought we would make it 'till at least 18 or 19.

Nice work. I, for one, applaud your convictions.*

*Not really.
posted by kbanas at 11:49 AM on July 20, 2006


Seems that this is a pretty remarkable story. Count me in as a yea vote.
posted by diastematic at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2006


Plutor, what the hell are you talking about? I wasn't following the Tour this year, and after reading this, I think I will. If you care at all about cycling, this is a worthy post; if you don't care about cycling, don't come into a cycling thread and shit all over it.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:52 AM on July 20, 2006


Just to add to moxyberry...not only are these the official team names but in terms of commentary (and we are very lucky in Oz having Phil Liggett) it is really important for the semi-literates like myself to hear these team names discussed all the time because tactics are a hugely important part of the race. I would be completely lost otherwise.

And after a few years of watching, ostensibly for the occasional views of the french countryside, I'm now a pretty avid follower of each competition. This is due in no small part to being drilled over the 3 weeks with the team names and their riders and their strengths and their tactics and their leading riders &c.

This has definitely been a great tour. Landis' turnaround is just another in a long line of extraordinary performances in the last weeks I reckon. It's easy straight afterwards to put it up there on a pedestal I guess. Let's see on Monday if it really worked for him. [heh...love the beer story]
posted by peacay at 11:54 AM on July 20, 2006


Plutor's question is perfectly legit. I came down on the side of posting because I think it was a once-in-a-generation caliber ride, and might be worth bringing to the attention of people who don't ordinarily follow the sport closely.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:54 AM on July 20, 2006


TdF blog has a nice indepth live-blogging of the stage: First Half, Second Half.
posted by yeti at 11:54 AM on July 20, 2006


Plutor: To put it in terms of the Red Sox, this was them taking the Yanks to game seven after almost getting shut out.

After yesterday's stage everyone was saying that he was done for, that it was out of his grasp. He told the reporters that he had just had a bad day and that he wasn't done yet and today he tore the road up. I have tears in my eyes thinking about it.

We support Floyd Landis.
posted by n9 at 11:55 AM on July 20, 2006


One thing I never really understood about competitive cycling, that maybe someone here could explain ...

Why are there teams? How does this help you?

I imagine them travelling in a group, blocking out the other riders and protecting the team leader from harassing contact ... but then the group is only as fast as the slowest rider. What am I missing?
posted by adzuki at 12:00 PM on July 20, 2006


Good thing he's getting that hip replacement surgery after the race this year.
posted by dglynn at 12:01 PM on July 20, 2006


I catch 30 minutes each morning before work and was lucky to see Landis begin the breakaway. I tell ya, it was hard to turn that TV off. Considering the muscle-shreding quality of the stage (that last climb is unreal), the fact that he broke away, avoided all the advantages of the peloton, and won is as remarkable a display of athletic ability as I've ever seen. My bike geek buddy laughed when I predicted Floyd would make a showing (he was betting on Ulrich or Zabriskie before the scandal hit), but I'm feeling pretty confident now.

Lance may have been an anomaly, but Landis proves America has "legs" in the Tour!
posted by Dantien at 12:01 PM on July 20, 2006


adzuki: You'd be surprised what a difference it makes to be surrounded by teammates. Whoever leads the bunch does way more work than those who can stay tucked safely inside out of the wind, so it would be impossible for one person to cover all breakaways, set tempo, etc.

But working together the team can bring back a breakaway, riders can sacrifice themselves to launch a teammate's attack or lead out a sprint, or can block a rival teams attempt to real in a breakaway.

I admit it's sort of a subtle point (although it got driven home for me when I did my first Cat 2 race the other day and I watched one team completely control the entire race from the inside). Maybe someone else can articulate this better than I can?
posted by dseaton at 12:08 PM on July 20, 2006


A turnaround that dramatic screams perfluorocarbon emulsion or stabilized/recombinant hemoglobin treatment. As much as I want to believe in this miracle ride I just can't see it. I'm honestly at the point that I believe riders need to be kept in cages and observed year-round by neutral parties whenever they're not on a bike—which has more or less ruined the professional aspect of the sport for me.

Then again, if I am wrong, that has to be one of the most incredible athletic performances in my time.
posted by Fezboy! at 12:13 PM on July 20, 2006


Plutor: To put it in terms of the Red Sox, this was them taking the Yanks to game seven after almost getting shut out.

Correct me if I misread, but isn't Floyd still not in first place? I could understand a "Floyd won the Tour after an amazing last-minute performance" post. But this.. Meh, until there's an outcome. To continue the analogy, this is like reporting on game six of the 2004 ALCS.

posted by Plutor at 12:21 PM on July 20, 2006


Everyone was talking about how the doping scandal might ruin cycling. Well, bah. I say ban everyone who is implicated for life and let the rest ride. That climb by Landis is the greatest in this generation of cyclists. He'll be remembered with Gaul, Christophe, Merckx and Pou-Pou. Brilliant.
posted by jmgorman at 12:22 PM on July 20, 2006


Another reason having team members around is so important is that they ferry drinks and food up to the leaders in the front from the team cars traveling behind the riders. This can take a considerable amount of time when there are 180+ riders, referee cars, camera motorbikes, and 20 team cars. The leaders can't go back themselves because they have to watch for attacks from the other contenders, so they have to rely on lower-placed teammates for food. The riders consume tremendous numbers of calories throughout the race, so if the leaders lose their teammates the consequences can be dire. In fact, Chris Carmichael (Lance Armstrong's coach) thinks that Landis's isolation from his teammates in Stage 16 contributed to his near-collapse yesterday.
posted by harkin banks at 12:22 PM on July 20, 2006


no Floyd went from first to ~9 minutes out of first to ~.5 minutes out of first all in the space of two days.
posted by Fezboy! at 12:23 PM on July 20, 2006


No, Plutor, this is like talking about game six of the 04 ALCS only if Johnny Damon batted in 10 runs without his team's support. F'Landis just owned the two hundred best cyclists in the world on the steepest hills they will ever climb. Unassisted by his team.
posted by jmgorman at 12:25 PM on July 20, 2006


Why is it that that Cycling News article reads like a string of telecom company ads?

"Phonak rider Floyd Landis"
"Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile)"
"Klöden's T-Mobile squad"

...

seriously, is all the commentary on this sport so laden with advertising? I'm not a cycling fan, so I'm genuinely curious.


FWIW, Phonak isn't a telecom, they make hearing aids. Bouygues Telecom is though.
posted by turbodog at 12:26 PM on July 20, 2006


But because it's a not-much-followed sport, it's okay to post?

Yep, pretty much. Don't bother waking me up when you find the right analogy and go to MeTa.
posted by fleacircus at 12:28 PM on July 20, 2006


No, Plutor, this is like talking about game six of the 04 ALCS only if Johnny Damon batted in 10 runs without his team's support. F'Landis just owned the two hundred best cyclists in the world on the steepest hills they will ever climb. Unassisted by his team.

Not to mention doing it just 24 hours after a complete physical (and probably emotional) breakdown in the previous stage AND riding on a massacred hip bone that leaves him barely able to walk.
posted by turbodog at 12:31 PM on July 20, 2006


If you want a reference to the emergence of corporate sponsorship (as opposed to national teams) in teh TdF, see Georges Vigarello's chapter in the second volume of Pierre Nora's Lieux de Memoire.
posted by jmgorman at 12:35 PM on July 20, 2006


Landis is definitely a worthy heir to Armstrong. Physiologically he's actually better:

The average lung capacity, measured in V02 Max is 45 ml /kg/min, Lance Armstrong's is 84 ml/kg/min, Landis' is 90 ml/kg/min. While this is not the only measure of cycling greatness, it does give him a leg up.
posted by splatta at 12:44 PM on July 20, 2006


As briefly alluded to, Landis' monster ride today is made even more monumental by the fact he's riding on a ruined hip -- the pain from which would likely render 99% of the population (me included) bed-ridden, Vicodin-popping, gibbering fools.

Read last weekend's profile of Landis in the NYT Magazine here.

"Chao, who serves as team physician for the San Diego Chargers, says that he sees “a lot of injuries, a lot of guys playing with pain. But if I were a betting man, and you showed me Landis’s X-rays, I would bet my house that he could not be competitive in the Tour de France. This is the hip of a guy who, if he were just a weekend warrior, would have problems with everyday living. But to be a top athlete? Where a 1 percent performance loss is a big deal? No way.”"
posted by docgonzo at 12:45 PM on July 20, 2006


A turnaround that dramatic screams perfluorocarbon emulsion or stabilized/recombinant hemoglobin treatment.
Christ, I was joking!!!
posted by yhbc at 12:46 PM on July 20, 2006


Man, I am not a cycling fan, but stuff like this in any sport is why I like sports.
posted by dame at 12:46 PM on July 20, 2006


!

I've been rooting for Landis.
posted by drezdn at 1:03 PM on July 20, 2006


Floyd Landis reminded me of Rocky Balboa today. You think he's down and then...... BAM
posted by Pendragon at 1:04 PM on July 20, 2006


From Wikipedia:
"Regarding the level of athleticism and endurance required to complete the Tour de France, the following excerpt from a New York Times article sums things up nicely: "The Tour de France’s status as the world’s most physiologically demanding event is largely unquestioned. The riders cover 2,272 miles (3656 km) at an average speed of 25 miles per hour (40 km/h), roughly the equivalent of running a marathon almost every day for almost three weeks. In the Pyrenees and the Alps, they climb a vertical distance equal to three Mount Everests. They take in up to 10,000 kilocalories (kcal) per day, the equivalent of 17 Big Macs, elevating their metabolic rates to a level that, according to a Dutch study, is exceeded by only four species on earth.""
posted by Dantien at 1:19 PM on July 20, 2006


How do cycling teams work? (from Slate)

I am totally bummed that there isn't a Team Time Trial in this year's TdF. To watch a good team time trial is almost like poetry in motion. Team US Postal / Discovery Channel were given the nickname of The Blue Train because of their overall strength and coordination. Team CSC finally won their illusive first TTT earlier this year.

These guys are fast.
posted by moxyberry at 1:32 PM on July 20, 2006


What's next? Fantasy Tour de France?
Oh. Ok.
posted by spock at 1:37 PM on July 20, 2006


OK, so I'm the only one who thinks that's a sub-standard use of the word legend, right?
posted by imperium at 1:41 PM on July 20, 2006


Spock,

Podium Cafe has a free Virtual Director Sportif competition going too. It's pretty intense, with lots of participants. Of course, everyone's virtual team got blown up on June 30th with Operation Puerto but it's a lot of fun to watch people get really into their teams.

Building a virtual 9-man ProTour team is actually kind of challenging. It's not like some sports where you can just throw a bunch of all-stars together (ahem, Team USA men's Olympic basketball team) but you need to careful choose a leader, all-around domestiques, sprinters, and climbers.
posted by moxyberry at 1:44 PM on July 20, 2006


Correct me if I misread, but isn't Floyd still not in first place?

I don't know, I think the comeback to this point is amazing enough. However, the only really challenging stage where a lead change is likely to occur is the upcoming time trial, where Landis is favored over his closest rivals. He likely wins this tour, and at the very least will place in the top three.
posted by caddis at 2:10 PM on July 20, 2006


It's amazing how ... bad the original poster's links make this NYTimes story on today's stage win seem.
posted by lbergstr at 2:10 PM on July 20, 2006


I'm gonna hop on my bike and ride 90 miles to the Landis Valley Farm Museum in Lancaster County and light a candle. We're not worthy. Imagine what the guy could do if he had two functioning hips.

Tomorrow is a (relatively) easy day, then The Race Of Truth is Saturday. Considering the time Landis took out of everybody on the shorter TT with an equipment malfunction I'd say his chances look pretty good.
posted by fixedgear at 2:12 PM on July 20, 2006


Legend can also be a person or achievement worthy of inspiring such a story—anyone or anything whose fame promises to be enduring, even if the renown is created more by the media than by oral tradition. Thus we speak of the legendary accomplishments of a major-league baseball star or the legendary voice of a famous opera singer. This usage is common journalistic hyperbole, and 55 percent of the Usage Panel accepts it.
If it's good enough for 55 percent of the Usage Panel, it's guddinuff fer me. Considering the Landis triumph is virtualyl unheard of, I'll allow some journalistic hyperbole.

I wish there was a way to listen to the race live online. Two years ago OLN had streaming audio but they havent offered it in recent years.
posted by yeti at 2:12 PM on July 20, 2006


I wish there was a way to listen to the race live online.

Eurosport has live streaming audio.
posted by jaimev at 2:19 PM on July 20, 2006


What dame said.

this is like reporting on game six of the 2004 ALCS

No, it's like reporting on game six of the 1986 NLCS, in which the Mets came back to beat Houston in one of the most riveting games ever played. There was lots of reporting about it, and had MeFi existed then I would have made a post about it myself, and anyone who didn't like it could go suck toads.
posted by languagehat at 2:26 PM on July 20, 2006


i would have said stfu but suck toads is more than appropriate.
posted by n9 at 2:31 PM on July 20, 2006


I wish there was a way to listen to the race live online

Eurosport streams English audio of each stage:

http://www.eurosport.com/eurosport/mc_vid20993.shtml

Radio Monte Carlo has a French audio stream:

http://viphttp.yacast.net/V4/rmc/rmc_main_m2006.html?id=rmc

Also, Danish TV has a video/audio stream in Danish of every stage:

http://tv.sputnik.dk/player/channel/2089519/clip/2831227.asx#cf
posted by birdsong at 2:36 PM on July 20, 2006


Amazing stage, amazing Tour. Whether or not Armstrong has been doping all these years, he sure as hell took the excitement out of the Tour. This year's race is everything the Tour is meant to be -- excitement, surprises, revelations...

Personally I'm cheering for the Spaniards (Sastre and Pereiro), but I stood up and applauded Landis today, amazing ride. What balls.


Plutor, what the hell are you talking about? I wasn't following the Tour this year, and after reading this, I think I will.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:52 AM PST on July 20


You're a little late to start following the Tour now, you missed the first 3445 km!
posted by sic at 2:41 PM on July 20, 2006


sorry, this should work better:

Eurosport streams English audio of each stage:

http://www.eurosport.com/eurosport/mc_vid20993.shtml

Radio Monte Carlo has a French audio stream:

http://viphttp.yacast.net/V4/rmc/rmc_main_m2006.html?id=rmc

Also, Danish TV has a video/audio stream:

http://tv.sputnik.dk/player/channel/2089519/clip/2831227.asx#cf
posted by birdsong at 2:48 PM on July 20, 2006


You know, the best thing for arthritis is exercise :P

10,000 kilocalories (kcal) per day

How does this compare to a marathon or a triathalon?

I could probably walk 26 miles in a day - it would hurt a lot - but a 100km ride on level ground is beyond me. Some of that is pacing, I waste a lot of energy on accelerations, but 100km level is nothing compared to 200km up and down mountains..
posted by Chuckles at 2:49 PM on July 20, 2006


Correct me if I misread, but isn't Floyd still not in first place?

That's one of the great things about the Tour - some of the greatest (bona fide) legends never won. Christophe came in second in 1912, but is legendary for his trials (not time trials, but his bike actually breaking under him) in 1913 and 1919. Pou-Pou has a ridiculous record of second and third place finishes, but never won a single stage. The TdF is, at its heart, a working person's race where balls-out, soul-crushing riding like Landis layed out today becomes legendary. Win or not, he'll be remembered.
posted by jmgorman at 3:26 PM on July 20, 2006


What Landis did today was incredible, no question about it. I was one of those fans who thought he was a boring rider who rode too conservatively, but I watched 4 hours of Eurosport coverage today utterly transfixed to the TV screen.

Respect, Floyd. Although his ride only took him to 3rd overall today, he is only 30 seconds behind. His speciality is the time trial, and there's a long one on Saturday. He should be in yellow on Sunday morning for the ride into Paris.

This has been the best Tour in decades. They should ban all the favourites every year!
posted by afx237vi at 3:26 PM on July 20, 2006


Thanks for the audio links! I'm kicking myself I didnt AskMe earlier. I googled the hell out of it a couple weeks ago and found nothing.
posted by yeti at 3:47 PM on July 20, 2006


You're a little late to start following the Tour now, you missed the first 3445 km!

Better late than never. Besides, after an event like this, I don't see how anyone even remotely interested in cycling. Today's Tour stage is on OLN in 1 hour. You can bet I'm watching it; knowing what the result is doesn't matter, I just want to see it.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:53 PM on July 20, 2006


that should read "I don't see how anyone even remotely interested in cycling could not start watching it."
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:59 PM on July 20, 2006


I think that this year's tour is a great introduction for those people who think that cycling = Lance Armstrong.

My favorite interview with Landis so far is the cover story to this month's Bicycling mag: American Cycling Grows up... sort of, mostly because it's David Zabriskie asking the questions. Zabriskie is Floyd's roomate in Girona and rides with Team CSC; heis probably the funniest, quirkiest guy in all of the peloton. He is keeping a rider diary over at Bicycling.com, with some great candid insight into the workings of the tour. For pure hilariousness, check out his podcasts at MissingSaddle.com.

Humor aside, he is also one fast time-trialing mofo.
posted by moxyberry at 4:12 PM on July 20, 2006


Oops.
posted by docgonzo at 4:13 PM on July 20, 2006


ha ha thanks moxy

"are you drunk?"

"that's just dave's way of saying nice things"
posted by lbergstr at 4:23 PM on July 20, 2006


Doc,

Apparently, there was a bit of a sparring match earlier in the tour between two riders.

"But before all this craziness, I saw something even more crazy. I saw a guy get punched in the face! Now that was weird since I've never seen anyone get punched in the face before. But there we are in the Tour de France and all of a sudden this Saunier Duval rider, De La Fuentes, just sat up and punched this Bouygues Telekom guy in the face. Well the Telekom guy went back to the medical car to report it, and I went back to confirm his story cause I don't want to see guys hauling off and punching other guys in the face. The Tour de France is crazy enough as it is." DZ's Stage 5 diary

Quit hitting me, quit hitting me! (from Eurosport).

It may be hard to headbutt someone while zipping along on a bicycle but apparently sucker punches are not entirely impossible...
posted by moxyberry at 4:40 PM on July 20, 2006


Exciting stuff, certainly. But how is Landis going to perform tomorrow? I hope not, but he may have burned himself out today and set himself up for a flameout tomorrow or in the TT Saturday. The yellow jersey of the TdF is not won with big efforts on a single day, it is won by incrementally chipping away at the lead of your competitors. Remember, Lance Armstrong, back in his Motorola days, was once an incredible one day-racer too...he had to tone that down and ride strategically in order to win the TdF overall. It ain't over until it's over.
posted by randomstriker at 5:12 PM on July 20, 2006


Holy. Fucking. Shit.

What an amazing ride. Didn't see that one coming at all - I thought Landis was completely finished yesterday, to the point where I didn't even watch today.

Imagine my surprise...
posted by smeger at 5:17 PM on July 20, 2006


Add me to the list of folks who thought this was a stupendous ride today, and definitely worthy of a FPP. For the folks like Plutor, they need to educate themselves about a topic before shitting on a thread with ignorant comments. As far as everyone was concerned Floyd was out of the race yesterday. Today he is a favorite to win again. It was absolutely a desperate, heroic ride. He's placed himself in position as a strong favorite since he's so great at the time trial. If there were no time trials before Sunday's finish he probably wouldn't have a chance to win, but now he's in the driver's seat. This will certainly be the most exciting Tour since Greg LeMond won against Laurent Fignon in the final stage of the 1989 Tour.

I've been a cycling fan since I was 10 years old and watched the '75 tour start to finish on TV in Switzerland. The ride today by Landis is worthy of comparison to Merckx. However, this is how Eddy Merckx rode EVERY day. Never was there a man so driven to win every time he was on the bicycle. Riders may have days that can rate with Eddy, but there are no riders even close to him; not Armstrong by any stretch, and certainly not Landis.
posted by Eekacat at 6:16 PM on July 20, 2006


randomstriker-It's certainly possible that he could flame out tomorrow, but it's very unlikely given the nature of the stage. The beauty of this is that he's got tomorrow to basically rest before the TT.

What a great stage, and a truly legendary ride. Lance and the Postal/Disco dominance made the Tour kind of boring. This year's has been exceptional, and it's nice to see so many young riders who, especially now that Lance is retired, look like they will really do great things in the years to come.
posted by OmieWise at 6:27 PM on July 20, 2006


However, this is how Eddy Merckx rode EVERY day. Never was there a man so driven to win every time he was on the bicycle. Riders may have days that can rate with Eddy, but there are no riders even close to him; not Armstrong by any stretch, and certainly not Landis.

Well said. It's a joke to compare anybody to the cannibal.
posted by phrontist at 6:27 PM on July 20, 2006


Plutor--What's interesting about your position about this FPP is that you clearly don't understand cycling at all, which is fine, but which is also something that the FPP might help you to address. Yes, the Tour is made up of stages, yes Landis is not in first, but because of the nature of the different kinds of stages Landis 1) looked as if he had put himself in a literally (not metaphorically) impossible position after yesterday's disaster; 2) ridden a ride unlike anyone in recent history, completely exclipsing any single stage ride by Armstrong; 3) done it all on a destroyed hip that will be replaced in a matter of weeks; 4) put himself closer to winning the Tour than any other rider in the race right now, even though to the unitiated and uncurious it looks like he's "not even in first place," he's actually in the best position of any other rider.

This is a better FPP than one on Sunday announcing the winner because Landis' ride today makes of Saturday another epic stage, on the world stage.

So, yes, it's partly because this is a little followed sport that that this makes a good FPP, and it's precisely because this is a little followed sport (I guess coupled with your lack of curiousity) that you don't recognize it for what it is.
posted by OmieWise at 6:34 PM on July 20, 2006


Anybody curious about the legend of Eddy Merckx (like I was five minutes ago) should read this, especially the portion starting "His best performance".
posted by lbergstr at 6:46 PM on July 20, 2006


Plutor, I can't help but join the pileon. You've just proven yourself ignorant of not one but two sports. Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS was the one in which Curt Schilling pitched his team to victory with sutures jammed into his right ankle to prevent tendon from rubbing against bone so he could do his job effectively. This performance ignited the Red Sox and demoralized the Yankees to the point where game 7 was a total blowout, won by the 2nd inning.

I like Landis' chances. I'll be watching the time trial Saturday.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:17 PM on July 20, 2006


OmieWise, my only correction to your comment would be to say "little followed sport in America". It is quite popular in Europe.

And thanks phrontist, I couldn't agree with you more.
posted by Eekacat at 7:25 PM on July 20, 2006


Okay, now that I've watched the replay (on the East coast) - that really was the best single ride in the Tour de France. Even if Landis doesn't win the Tour, that will go down in history.

Of course, it also probably needs to be said that the rider that finishes dead last in the Tour is a better athlete than any other human being on the planet.
posted by yhbc at 7:53 PM on July 20, 2006


Landis' ride today was everything you all said it was, so I won't bother adding my redundant adulation. I'm only jumping in here to point out that Phil Liggett or Robbie Ventura (Landis' coach) said on OLN that Floyd's hip doesn't really bother him while he's riding. Apparently it's a lot more painful when he's lying in bed trying to sleep.

Even so, it can't be easy riding with one working hip.

Oh, and his descent from the final climb today was epic. He took another minute out of Sastre and Pereiro, both of whom were going pretty fast, too.
posted by diddlegnome at 8:43 PM on July 20, 2006


I just finished watching it too. Wow. That boy has grit. He had fight in him the whole way.

It was amazing how the OLN guys, who had continuous patter through the entire race, just had no words while watching the remaining riders finish after Landis. Rolls kind of chuckled a lot, but that was it, almost dead silence - it was like a requiem for those riders.

Merckx may remain the greatest cyclist of all time, but that was the greatest ride I have ever seen.
posted by caddis at 8:45 PM on July 20, 2006


Every Tour has its memorable moments, and I've had the luxury of watching the last 3 or 4 Tours live at work. Every stage, every morning, right there at my desk. There was the climb a couple years ago when Armstrong took one look back at his laboring colleagues and then simply blasted off and drove time into them mercilessly. There's Armstrong snagging the spectator's bag and wiping out, and Ulrich dawdling while LAnce catches up. There's Zabriskie announcing himself to the world on the early time trial. There's Rasmussen having that horrible day on the late time trial last year. And it looks like we now have this year's moment.

For once the hyperbole of the OLN announcers was warranted. "The ride of their lives" indeed. And except for the opening shot on the first climb, Landis did it all by himself. Man, that guy's got a pair.
posted by intermod at 8:50 PM on July 20, 2006


caddis: The OLN commentators giggled and kept quiet because they thought they were in commercial while all that was happening. Apparently OLN decided that there was too much drama right then to cut away to commercial, so left that part in during the replay. That said, I can't stand Al Trautwig, so that five minutes of near silence was fantastic.
posted by dseaton at 8:54 PM on July 20, 2006


dseaton: and Bob Roll's "God-damn!" when a rider went off the road was quite refreshing, as well.
posted by yhbc at 9:09 PM on July 20, 2006


The OLN broadcasts where Phil and Paul are announcing are about 1000x better than Al and Bob. If Al and Bob were the only choice, okay, I think they do a fine job. But if you have the opportunity to watch the stages where Phil and Paul are doing the commentary (read: not the "primetime extended coverage,") I highly encourage that. Those two have excellent chemistry and when they get excited at the sprint finish or watching the peloton crack on a climb, you can feel it too. Listening to Phil announce a sprint is awesome, more immediately exciting than one would imagine cycling to be. While I think they are interesting characters (and I appreciate Bob's insight as an ex-pro), I find Al and Bob to just be awkward commentators.
posted by moxyberry at 10:40 PM on July 20, 2006


A turnaround that dramatic screams perfluorocarbon emulsion or stabilized/recombinant hemoglobin treatment.

Or beer apparently!
posted by fshgrl at 11:23 PM on July 20, 2006


Bob Rolls is my favorite announcer, but Al is terrible (IMHO). Rolls gets a little excited at times, but often that is infectios energy which pulls you along, and makes some socially awkward comments, but he's having fun. Ligget is more staid, and professional so those two make a great combo. Bob could barely contain himself while Landis was trashing the field. If he wasn't being paid he would have been jumping up and down and whooping the whole race. As it was he came close to that on the air. Tour Day France.
posted by caddis at 5:04 AM on July 21, 2006


You've just proven yourself ignorant of not one but two sports. Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS was the one in which Curt Schilling pitched his team to victory with sutures jammed into his right ankle to prevent tendon from rubbing against bone so he could do his job effectively. This performance ignited the Red Sox and demoralized the Yankees to the point where game 7 was a total blowout, won by the 2nd inning.

Actually, that was exactly my point. Thank you. I'm happy with this FPP sticking around, I just find it a not-entirely-surprising double standard.
posted by Plutor at 7:57 AM on July 21, 2006


yhbc: Agreed. That was awesome.

moxyberry: OLN had a three man booth with Paul, Phil, and Bob for some of their coverage of the classics this spring. It worked pretty well, and I was hoping they'd use that combination for the Tour this year.

I don't know why Al Trautwig insists on acting like he doesn't know anything about cycling (or maybe refuses to bother to learn anything), but that routine is just insufferable. Bobke, on the other hand, has really gotten better since he first joined OLN, but has remained hilarious throughout.
posted by dseaton at 8:53 AM on July 21, 2006


Landis has retaken the Yellow Jersey and now has the race in the bag. Man, what an awesome performance by this guy!
posted by caddis at 9:23 AM on July 22, 2006


On an intellectual level, Landis' accomplishment is impressive, and reading about him and his friendship with Zabriskie is great, but any enthusiasm I might have had for his victory has been leeched out of me because of the OLN idiot squad. I'm trying to fight it, but it is really hard - OLN is the filter through which I experience the sport - I just can't help resenting their cheerleading, and as a consequence, the athletes they cheerlead for.

Paul and Phil are only good in comparison to Al and Bob. Viewed outside that flattering context, they are at best mediocre. Does anyone watch Speed Channel coverage of Formula 1? That is how you cover a race! You do have to wonder though, if Americans were winning Formula 1 races, Speed Channel might be just as nauseating as OLN.. Probably not though.
posted by Chuckles at 9:43 AM on July 22, 2006


OLN used to have Bob Varsha covering the TdF. Please tell me he's not the yardstick you are using.
posted by fixedgear at 5:49 PM on July 22, 2006


lol testosterone usa got pwnd lol
posted by riotgrrl69 at 6:17 AM on August 5, 2006


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