The Tour de France finished yesterday. Thor Hushovd, the big Norwegian, won the final stage in a surprise win over Bobby McEwen. Floyd Landis won the Tour overall.
In the sixteenth stage, Floyd Landis “bonked”, as the jargon goes: he had a carb crash, where there just weren’t enough sugars in his blood to keep at it. He struggled over the finish line for the stage well behind the other contenders for the Tour. He was eight minutes and change behind Oscar Pereiro, the new (again) wearer of the yellow jersey (indicating being in the lead in the general competition). Everybody figured Landis was out of the Tour’s running this year, that he’d fallen so far back he wouldn’t even be close to a podium finish.
Wow, were they wrong. In stage seventeen, he ran a 165km breakaway effort that ended with him riding all alone out in front of everyone, and nobody could catch him. People were dropping out of the effort to catch him left and right, and no progress was being made. It put him within thirty seconds of the yellow jersey. Being an excellent time-trialist, this boded well for him in the stage for the day after next.
Stage eighteen was a relatively flat one. The major contenders didn’t really change their standing at all. Floyd was still the obvious favorite to win after the time trial, and Pereiro was still wearing the yellow jersey.
In stage nineteen, he came in with the second best time for the final individual time trial of this year’s Tour. He was far enough ahead of Pereiro, Kloden, and Sastre that he had the Tour locked in at that point. All that was left was the almost-ceremonial final stage into Paris, which yesterday ended with Thor Hushovd’s stage win and Landis making the American Tour de France champion dynasty last another year. Americans have won eight years running, now, with Lance Armstrong having his record-setting seven Tours in a row and Landis perpetuating the trend for one more year.
Now, Landis is going on to get his hip replacement surgery this year (he has osteonecrosis of his hip, for those who aren’t aware). If he comes through this surgery able to ride at Tour de France competitive levels again, he’s sure to dominate the field a bit more once the pain of his osteonecrosis is gone.
I have that amazing, mind-boggling comeback ride from this year’s stage seventeen saved on VHS. I’m keeping it. Holy cow.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled geekery. By the way, I’ve rejoined the ruby-talk mailing list: I’ll unsubscribe from some of the Perl lists if I find I’m getting too much email again.