Holy F@#$%G S@#T
i can't, i CANNOT, believe what i just saw. hate to mimic Bobke, but i am willing to say to myself that today was the greatest day of racing i've ever seen in the Tour. and as i said previously, i've watched since the CBS weekend update shows of Lemond's wins, the nascent ESPN re-cap shows of the '90s, and the all-out barrage of OLN.
when i say "i've watched", i have to throw out the caveat that i didn't watch Lemond's winning '89 ride. i was out with my parents somewhere in eastern Pennsylvania, came home, saw the news, and howled at the moon (er, sun). you can't deny that the '89 Tour was maybe the most exciting ever. today, though, i saw everything save a few minutes of right before the Joux Plane and the lower slopes of said mountain. INCREDIBLE!! These are the kind of rides that haven't happened in the modern Tour, ones where the favorites lose epic times one stage and gain it back later, for example Merckx losing 8.42 to Ocana in the '71 Tour, only to win later when Ocana crashed. or consider Lemond's '86 win. Hinault attacked his teammate and gained 5min into Pau. the next day, he exploded and Lemond took back that time and more to cement his win. when looking at the Indurain/Armstrong stranglehold years, name me one time that either of them attacked before the last climb. Name me one time when they accumulated 5.42 on their direct rivals in one stage. Indurain just used that huge motor to grind everybody in the mountains. Lance certainly was impressive on the climbs, but had that 1 burst on the last climb, grabbing 1 or 2 minutes like clockwork. Floyd loses 8 or so minutes to the favorites one day, and gains most of it back the next. it's just Amazing!
now the whole ball of wax comes down not only to Saturday's TT, but all the intermmediate bonuses along the way. unless Floyd utterly dominates the TT, we could see the GCrs sprinting on Sunday to win the '06 Tour de France.
1) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, in 80:08:49
2) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at :12
3) Floyd Landis, Phonak, CSC, at :30
4) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 3:08
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 4:14
7) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 4:24
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 5:45
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 8:16
10) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 12:13
**notice the absence of Leipheimer.poor guy finished in 38th place today, losing 21min overall and 12min to the clump of favorites. he catapults himself down the standings from 9th to 18th, 22min down. ironically enough, he finished in a group with 3 Disco boys and Chris Horner. Disco's Azevedo managed to keep himself in 19th.
**a good Tour resource that i found today is Welcome to the History of the Tour, sponsored by le Tour itself. it has specific yearly history, plus selections like an alphabetical list of all riders, from specific countries, jerseys, etc. good stuff.
take nothing away, though, from Floyd. i'm at least in agreement with Bobke. today was beyond epic. they throw around 'historical', but if, and that's IF, Floyd wins the Tour, today will be one of the top few rides of all time.