23 July 06
Whence the Tour of California
Floyd Landis won the Tour de France today. It’s been a wild three weeks, it being the most open Tour in ages. Landis and Oscar Pereiro exchanged the lead several times over the past week. Most dramatically, Landis recaptured the yellow jersey in the first stage in the Alps, and then collapsed on the final hill of the second Alpine stage to fall to 11th place. All seemed lost for him, but on the third and final Alpine stage, he went on an incredible solo run of the sort not seen since the days of Eddy Merckx to win the stage by over 5 minutes This brought him in striking distance of taking the lead in the race in Saturday’s time trial, which he proceeded to do. He ended up winning the Tour by 57 seconds over Pereiro. On top of all this, a couple weeks ago he reveals that he has an incredibly painful arthritic hip as the result of a crash a few years ago, and is in need of a hip replacement.
Back in February, Landis won the inaugural edition of the Tour of California, an eight-day stage race through the state. Maybe there’s a new rule here—whoever wins the Tour of California will win the Tour de France. Even if not, next year’s Tour of California will be fun to follow, especially since the stage on 20 February 2007 is going to run from Santa Rosa to Sacramento. I plan to catch that one in person!