Today, Floyd Landis had to face the Tour de France cameras again. Yesterday, he ran out of gas on the stage’s last climb, hit the wall hard, and lost the Tour’s yellow jersey. Then he gathered himself, told reporters that even though he didn’t expect to win the Tour anymore he’d still give it a shot, and went to bed.

Today? Well, I may have disappeared so far into cycling-race geekdom (along with immediate family members and close friends, some neighbors, and assorted bicycling compatriots) that I underestimate the difficulty in conveying how amazing today was. Landis came out and attacked the field on the last big mountain-climbing stage of the Tour, and this time, he broke everyone else. Talk about heart.

He did not capture the overall race lead, but because of the nature of the last three stages — a relatively flat one tomorrow with limited apparent tactical opportunity for big moves by the race leaders, a time trial on Saturday in which Landis will be a favorite to win, and the short, flat finish on Sunday in Paris — he’s got a real chance to win the Tour. Of course, the thing about this Tour, unlike nearly every Tour for the past 25 years, is that you never know what tomorrow will bring.

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3 Replies to “Heart”

  1. Well, I’ll add something if nobody else will. This guy borrowed a page from Michael Jordan’s book to pull off what he did. A very cool guy.
    BTW: and speaking of MJ’s playbook…while I don’t go in for golf all that much, Tiger Woods was amazing yesterday as well.

  2. I hadn’t thought of Michael Jordan in connection to what Landis did, but you’re right. His epic day reminds me of that game against Utah, in Salt Lake City, where Jordan got off his death bed and led the Bulls to a win. In his best years, Jordan was more like Lance Armstrong, or vice versa: Someone whose determination became the crucial factor in an event’s outcome. Pretty amazing, when you think about it.

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