Saturday, July 01, 2006

Landis Caught Napping

From live coverage of today's Tour de France prologue, a 7.1 km time trial:

Floyd Landis missed his start! He wasn't even on the ramp when the beep came on. But he only missed 6 seconds... still, that won't do it for the win today.
Landis finished 9 seconds behind winner Thor Hushovd. That probably won't make any difference in the final standings, but it reminded me of a much greater error by Pedro Delgado. In the 1989 Tour de France, Delgado was the defending champion. But when it was time for him to start the prologue time trial, he wasn't there. As fans waited anxiously, Delgado showed up two minutes and 40 seconds late for the start. Needless to say, losing that much time in the first 8 km of the race (which most riders finished in less than ten minutes) didn't bode well. Though he battled back to third place in the mountains, Delgado never recovered the time he lost in the prologue. Incidentally, the 1989 Tour was decided by another time trial in the final stage: the legendary duel between Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon. LeMond started 50 seconds behind Fignon and beat him by 58 seconds, winning the Tour by the narrowest margin ever.

UPDATE 07/02/2006 - It turned out that Landis had a cut tire that his team mechanics chose to change at the last minute, so he wasn't just zoning out with his iPod or something.

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