Friday, July 21, 2006

Way to Be Landis [J. Mark English]

MÂCON, France, July 21In cycling, the time trial is known as the race of truth, where each rider goes by himself as fast as he can, with only the clock as an opponent.
On Saturday, all eyes will be on the clock as Floyd Landis and the other contenders in the Tour de France battle it out in a 35.4-mile sprint that winds through the wine country of southern Burgundy from Le Creusot to Montceau-les-Mines.
Landis spent much of the last week predicting that the three-week race would come down to the final time trial. Because the final stage, a 95-mile ride that finishes with eight laps on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, is largely ceremonial up until the final circuits, the rider in first place after the time trial is likely to win the Tour de France.
Landis, an American riding for the Phonak team, has also been saying that if that is the case, he likes his chances.
“I’m confident in my time-trialing,” Landis said Friday after finishing in the main pack on a hot, long stage down from the Alps, where he won Thursday’s stage in stunning fashion in Morzine.
“Today went fine,” Landis added. “It was a bit of a recovery day. I feel good.”