July 22, 2006
Congratulations, Floyd Landis!
Posted by Gordon Smith

Even if something horrible happened on Sunday, my offering of congratulations to Floyd Landis would not be premature. His ride on Thursday was historic, and his time trial on Saturday was efficient. I had not been a big Landis booster, but he made a fan out of me during this Tour. Bobby Julich captures the spirit of Landis:

He's not as calculating, but he's just as serious [as Lance Armstrong] about cycling. Anyone that knows him, anyone that's ever trained with him has never doubted Landis' drive. He's a rider you can have a beer with, he's a character. He doesn't have that aura around him that Armstrong does. Landis also won without the overall dominant team we've seen in past Tours, i.e., the "Blue Train" of Armstrong's wins. Landis has a little bit of the maverick in him, he lives on the edge and takes a chance.

After tomorrow, the big question will be whether Landis can defend his title in 2007 after having hip replacement surgery this fall. If Floyd is in France, I will be cheering for him.

UPDATE: I am happy to see that nothing horrible happened, and that Floyd has his Tour de France victory. Chris seeks to put this Tour in perspective at Podium Cafe:

Landis is a transitional figure. Obviously his win will go down as one of the great unforgettable moments in the race's history, and I'm talking way high up on the list. But in all likelihood he's a bridge to the next era, not the subject of it. He'll make medical history if he so much as finishes another Tour, and my guess is that it will take him more than a year to even approach his former level. The muscle trauma of surgery just seems too over the top.

And, of course, speculation about next year has begun already. I am liking Damiano Cunego.

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