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  matt's weblog . . .: THE bonk . . .

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

THE bonk . . .

It's called a lot of different things in a lot of different sports (mostly endurance sports) and it's cause could be any number of different issues, but call it what you will -- bonking, cracking, hitting the wall, crashing, blowing up, or just pooping out -- even casual cycling fans are being made aware today of how truely (almost, unbelievably) amazing are the feats of Lance Armstrong.

Today, just a little over 3 days from the finish line, 2 days from the Tour's last time trial (the discipline at which he is undoubtedly one of the best in the field), and a mere 15k from the end of the stage, Floyd Landis -- Lance Armstrong's one time, long-time teamate who left no bridge unburned when he left the USPS (to then become Discovery) team after the '04 Tour -- showed that he was not, his own belief notwithstanding, the next great American cyclist. He came to the 15k marker about 2 minutes up on his nearest "real" competition and finished the stage 8 minutes out (with 3 days left, he'd need a miracle to even make up 1/2 that).

This was Landis' one great shot at the win. All of the major names in the sport and the prohibitive favorites -- Ulrich, Basso, Vinokourov, etc. -- were tossed in doping allegations just days before the Tour started. Couple that with the fact that the typically solid Leipheimer had an inexplicably poor individual time trial in which he gave up 6 minutes and, wham-o, Landis is transformed from A favorite to THE favorite. This was HIS Tour to lose. Considering that he will have hip replacement surgery after the season and he's not exactly a spring chicken anymore, it was probably his last Tour to lose as well.

Was it the cycling gods getting him for the remarable display of hubris demonstrated by Landis' riding around on a yellow bike with yellow tires in a yellow helmet with gold glasses every time he donned the yellow jersey (Armstrong did something similar the last couple of Tours as well, but only on the ride into Paris, and even then only after already having 4 or 5 consecutive Tours to his name)? Who knows, but click here to see the interview (given just hours after the finish of the stage) by a man who had the Tour de France wrapped-up with a bow on it for him and just couldn't close the deal. Is this nonchalance for real or is this clinical-level denial?

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