What else can you say, especially if you are an American rooting for the US riders except today was a really bad day.
Floyd Landis had the single worst meltdown of this Tour and certainly one of the most incredible bad days for a rider in the yellow jersey in many, many years. After retaking the yellow yesterday, Floyd loses an incredible 10 minutes and 4 seconds in the closing kilometers of the stage today. What once looked like a done deal for Floyd is now a near impossibility. The image of Floyd nearly going in reverse on the final moments of the stage is one of the more enduring images of pain and suffering in recent years. The tank was simply empty. For those of us who wanted to see him pull off the win, today was a bad day. Having ridden with the man, I have to say that it was a serious heartbreaker.
George Hincapie fell even further down in the standings today, dropping slightly more than 28 minutes to the winner. George now sits in 42nd place, a distant 53 minutes down. Levi Leipheimer managed to minimize his losses and finished a very respectable 9th and moved up to the same spot on the GC. His hopes of a top ten finish are looking stronger.
Oscar Pereiro, a man very few people considered a threat to win the Tour when he took over the yellow a few days ago before losing it to Floyd, now sits in yellow again and has a very real chance to stay on the podium. This crazy Tour is far from over, based on what we have seen so far, so the final outcome is far from certain. Cadel Evans has risen back up to 5th after finishing 4th today.
It seems safe to say, well who knows, that Andreas Kloden is now suddenly a very real candidate to win the race. He has shown he can climb and is not that bad a time trial rider. He could really make it happen. He was 2nd in the race in 2004, so he is no stranger to the pressure of contending. With T-Mobile still reeling from the expulsion of Jan Ullrich and Oscar Sevilla in the drug scandal, they are likely going to throw everything they have into supporting Kloden and trying to get him into yellow by Paris.
Tomorrow will be less painful, hopefully, but it could still play a big roll in the final outcome. I would make some prognostications, but it seems totally futile in light of today. Somebody will win tomorrow. They'll be happy. That's all I know...
The Cub Reporter will likely have a post for us soon. I hear through the Grapevine that it was a fairly solemn day in France for the US folks. Dang. Sorry Reva and Donna... our boy had a bad, BAD day.