Yesterday I watched as American Floyd Landis, the leader of this years Tour de France, crack over the last 8-10 miles of hard mountin road. I saw him finish 8 minutes behind the new leader of the tour and lose any hope of winning this years race with only one more mountain stage and one time trial to try and recover and get back into the race. It was painful to watch and seemed hopeless. Landis looked like a beaten man when he finally crossed the finish line. Could any athlete so badly beaten recover?
For Landis this is a one and done Tour because he has to have hip replacement surgery immediately after the race is over. He is in effect riding on a dead hip, a painful dead hip. That alone makes his ride an incredibly courageous act. But now it was over. He was beaten.
But somehow someone forgot to tell Landis it was over, and this morning he performed a miraculous performance. He attacked in the mountains early in the stage and without any help rode to a stage win and gained back 7:30 of the 8 minutes he was behind. In two days comes his last chance to regain his lead and win the Tour. He is currently in third place 30 seconds behind the leader, and Landis is a very good time trialer, which means he has a chance to win. But after today could anyone bet against him.
This is not riding on a well oiled machine like Captain Lance Armstrong led. This is a really tough guy pretty much doing this on his own. He had gotten some help from his team but not so much, and none today. For some of us it may have been one of the great moments in sports. GO FLOYD!!! You have a lot of fans behind you.
I agree, “Go Floyd!” I was up in the middle of the night watching some recaps of the race and was so inspired. Perhaps that’s the beauty of sports…its ability to inspire us and to see what is possible for the human body and the human spirit.
What sets sport apart from most of our entertainment, and activities is the immediacy of it, and the unpredictability. We also see at times the incredible spirit of humans who seem to reach super human levels at times. I get inspired a lot. Sometimes it’s my own athletes.
Now we are faced with the prospect that Landis cheated. I don’t want to believe that because I want to believe that his heroic effort was made by an athlete we could admire, and his background should indicate values to protect him from the temptation of cheating.
I have found one disturbing outcome of this and it concerns a past winner of the Tour, Greg LeMond. He has been attacking Lance Armstrong in an accusitory way for years inplying that he has been cheating and should come clean. Now he has called on Landis depending on the outcome of his second test to come clean, not like that other cheater. Greg comes across as bitter and jealous. Greg, Lance was better, move on.