Landis cracks; 2006 Tour de France remains unpredictable

News & Results

07/19/2006| 0 comments
by David Cohen
Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) takes a beautiful stage win. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) takes a beautiful stage win. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Landis cracks; 2006 Tour de France remains unpredictable

The Tour de France, first run 103 years ago, today proved it remains one of the world?s great sporting events.


Stage 16 of this year?s race, a mountainous 182-km race from Bourg d?Oisans to

The Tour de France, first run 103 years ago, today proved it remains one of the world?s great sporting events.


Stage 16 of this year?s race, a mountainous 182-km race from Bourg d?Oisans to
La Toussuire , witnessed the extremes ? the agony and the ecstasy -- of high athletic drama.


The ecstasy was provided by the Great Dane, Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) went out in front 10km from the start and soloed for more than 70 kms to decisively win with a 1:41 edge of Carlos Sastre (CSC). Rasmussen, who achieved a similar feat in last year?s Tour, took a healthy lead in the King of the Mountains competition and surely will in the future be remembered as one of the great climbers in Tour history.

 


The agony was wrapped up in the collapse of Floyd Landis who went into Stage 13 wearing the race leader?s yellow jersey. Landis cracked with about 4 km to go, falling out of the peloton and eventually finishing an astonishing 10:04 behind Rasmussen, plunging to 11th place in the GC, more than 8 minutes behind Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d?Epargne- Illes Balears), who has succeeded him in the yellow jersey.


Floyd Landis?s collapse was one of the most spectacular in Tour history. It recalls the drama of the 1975 Tour when, 15 days into the race, the great Eddy Merckx appeared to be taking control only to experience a sudden loss of energy. He was overtaken by Bernard Thevenet during a stage between Nice and Pra-Loup. Thevenet eventually went on to take the yellow jersey that year.

 

Ironically, it was Axel Merckx, Eddy Merckx?s son, who was the only member of the Phonak team able to help Landis today. He led the pathetically depleted American during the last few kilometers. The rest of the Phonak team faded well before the final decisive climbing.

 

It now seems safe to assume that Lance Armstrong?s seven-year American hegemony of the Tour will not be extended.


This year?s Tour is anything but predictable, and its final result certainly isn?t clear yet.


Spaniard Oscar Pereiro, who was about a half an hour down to the yellow jersey after the three Pyrenean stages, took over the yellow jersey for the second time in the race. He now finds himself sitting 1:50 ahead of CSC?s Carlos Sastre.


Sastre, a genuine contender who has operated in the shadow of CSC teammates Ivan Basso and Bobby Julich, came to the fore today, speeding away from the peloton to overtake Levi Leipheimer, who made a valiant attempt to reach Rasmussen only to be swallowed up in the last few kilometers by the frontrunners. He finished 3:24 down to Rasmussen in ninth place.

 


Germany
?s Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile) is third place at 2:29; the Frenchman Cyril Dessel (Agr-Prevoyance), who refuses to go away, is fourth at 2:45; Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) is firth at 2:56; and Rabobank?s Denis Menchov?s is in sixth at 3:58.


Pereiro will surely fight with all his might to stay in yellow in tomorrow?s challenging stage l7, a 199-km mountain journey

Pages

Your comments
Your comments
sign up or login to post a comment