Okay, let me just warn you that there's no knitting content today.
As you know, this is a cycling household. We live our lives around Matt's training and race schedule. I've been following the Tour for several years now... and I also watch the other Grand Tours when available. I have to admit that even tho' I don't ride a bike, I love the racing (not to mention what it's done for Matt's legs...).
Yesterday was the most amazing thing I've ever seen in all my years of following sports. Not just cycling.
Racing in a 3 week race is grueling. You have to be in top form every single day. Imagine running a marathon. Every day. For 3 weeks. One bad day and your chances are done. Floyd Landis had a bad day. He had a bad day on a day that he couldn't afford to have a bad day. Being down 8 minutes with only a few days left means his chances of an overall were done. He could possibly go for a stage win (no small feat... and something every rider dreams of), but the big prize of winning the overall TdF was finished. Right?
A larger group of riders will always be able to ride faster than a smaller group. The first rider takes the brunt of the wind and the riders behind save about 30% of their energy. The more riders you have, the less energy you spend. A single rider out by themselves has to use 100% of the energy constantly... no recovery. That's why the peleton can chase down breakaways (usually).
When I turned on the TV coverage yesterday, I was hoping the Landis would make a move and go for the stage win. He's probably finished as a cyclist after this race is over thanks to a degenerative hip that he's going to have replaced. So while I wasn't completely surprised to see his attack early in the day, two things did surprise me: no one countered (they couldn't keep his pace... Cadel Evens said that the pace was so high he went into the "red zone" and never recovered). The peleton didn't chase him down.
Now I think there were probably two reasons why the peleton didn't chase him down. 1: I think there was an assumption that Floyd would fade, especially after the tough climbs and his hard pace and they would all be back together before the horrific final climb of the day. 2: I don't think there is a strong enough team to put that kind of effort into the chase.
What Floyd did yesterday showed a great deal of determination, strenth and quite frankly, balls. While Floyd is someone we've followed several years and from this area (the local races that Matt does are the same ones Floyd would've done as an amatuer), I can't imagine anyone not rooting for him now after yesterday's gutsy performance.
Sadly, I'm not going to be able to watch Saturday's Time Trial live, as I'm off to watch Matt race at Mt. Nebo (one of the toughest single days races in the US... 9 mile loop with 1125 ft of climbing every lap).
So I should be back to knitting content tomorrow (or should I admit that I just got Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal yesterday? there maybe not much knitting after all...)
Happy Knitting (and Go Floyd!!!)