Thursday, July 20, 2006

Back in the Game...er...Tour

In stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France, Floyd Landis, to borrow a Bill Simmons phrase, displayed a Pantheon Performance to put himself into contention for the Tour. Two days earlier, in stage 15, Landis captured the yellow jersey. But, twenty-four hours later he relinquished the jersey in a stunning collapse. In one stage he fell behind the leader by over eight minutes.

Then, today, Landis showed he had a heart as big as Andre the Giant's by dominating the final mountain stage to race back to within 30 seconds of the overall leader. Since this all happened on European time I read the story in the morning and was able to watch the replay on OLN, which doesn't have anything else to show at 10:00 a.m. (or for that matter at 10:00 p.m) but the Tour.

It was an amazing performance and I would have to rank it up there with a flu-ridden Jordan in the NBA finals, Kobe's 81-point performance, or some other amazing performance I can't think of right now. Keep in mind that he choked, flopped, and failed to show up in spectacular fashion one day earlier and this guy has a bad hip that needs to be replaced after the race. This would be like Landon Donovan following his performance in the first-round of the World Cup with 8 goals in the knockout stages (if the US had advanced).

It would be nice if Landis could cap this story off with a victory because that is how a performance like this should be rewarded and that would make it eight straight years of an American champion. The French would really hate that.

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