Rage Against the Machine

July 20, 2006. Floyd goes for a ride.
Graham Watson photo

Because you just can’t make this stuff up…

“He’s in every aspect the toughest man, ever,” Amber says seriously. “Physically tough, mentally tough, he’s just one tough bitch.”Amber Landis

After Floyd Landis regained the lead of the Tour de France at the top of L’Alpe d’Huez he decided that he wanted a beer to celebrate the moment. On the road down to his hotel, his team car pulled over and the American traded a yellow jersey for a six-pack of beer with a spectator.OLN

“He told me he was going to go out in the morning and do something big,” Amber Landis told me as she watched her husband begin the final descent of the Col de Joux-Plane. “He doesn’t say that very often, but when he does, he always goes out and does it.” — Amber Landis talking to journalist Martin Dugard

As he told his trainer, Allen Lim, the morning after tumbling from first to eleventh place, “I’m going to go apeshit on them.” — Journalist Austin Murphy

Somehow, word got out in the peloton that the Phonaks were going to try something preposterous. By doing so, they would be inflicting suffering on the rest of a Tour-weary bunch. Which explains why a number of riders coasted up to Landis before the first mountain, imploring him not to attempt something so foolhardy. As Landis would later recall, “I just told ‘em, Go drink some Coke, ’cause we’re leaving on the first climb if you want to come along.’” — Journalist Austin Murphy

“Get me to the bottom of the first climb,” Floyd Landis told his pretofore listless Phonak teammates, “and then I’ll see you later.” — Journalist Martin Dugard

When the peloton reached the first foothills Floyd put the hammer down. He went way too fast for so early in the stage. Although his competition initially reacted, one by one they seemed to satisfy themselves that he’d gone mad. Landis shot them a few well-placed, wild-eyed glares over the shoulder to cement the impression. — Writer Dave Shields

If you had a chance to watch the stage on television, you might have seen Landis catch up with a small group that had launched an earlier breakaway. He lingered awhile, talking one-by-one with the riders. What you saw there was simple horse-trading. Landis was asking for volunteers, riders who might be interested in working with him to make the attack a success. He was willing to pay for that help, roughly $5,000 dollars from some reports. But nobody took him up on the offer, because the race is so wide open that Landis has few friends in the peloton. So he shot away as if suddenly bored, destined to ride alone all day, come what may. — Journalist Martin Dugard

“When Floyd went, I just thought ‘what the hell is he doing?’,” the Australian told Cyclingnews. It tactically didn’t seem like a sensible thing to do, but I didn’t know he had the legs like that… nobody did!”Cadel Evans

“At T-Mobile, we had no tactics today. We just tried to hang on as long as possible. We thought the last climb would be the decisive one. Klöden had problems from the start; me too. We both struggled today. We never expected Landis to do so well today.”Michael Rogers

“They didn’t let him go, but he was just so strong in the beginning,” said Schleck. “We didn’t think that he could make it too the end. But he made it to the end, so he’s a fucking strong rider. Chapeau for Landis!”Frank Schleck

“That has never happened in the Tour, and it’s never happened in any other race I’ve done before - and it never will,” Horner said. “It was an epic scenario, which I’ve never seen in my entire career.”Chris Horner

  • 5 hours 23 minutes and 36 seconds.
  • Covering 200.5 kilometers (130 km alone in the wind).
  • At a speed of 37.175 km/hr.
  • Averaging 281 watts when moving for the whole ride and 318 watts over the last two hours.
  • Averaging 324 watts while pedaling for the whole ride and 364 watts over the last 2 hours.
  • At an average cadence of 89 rpm.
  • Transferring 5,456 Kjoules of energy to his Cycleops PowerTap.
  • Taking, no joke, a total of 70 water bottles (480 ml each) from the car to keep himself cool and hydrated.
  • Attacking about a quarter of the way up the Col des Saisies for 30 seconds at 544 watts, which settled into a 5-minute peak of 451 watts, which continued for 10 minutes at an average of power of 431 watts, and left everyone in his dust after 30 minutes at an average power of 401 watts.
  • Spending 13.2% of his time or 43 minutes coasting like a rocket on the descents and another 60% between 4 to 7 watts per kilogram of body weight (aka, the pain cave).
  • Holding onto 373 watts over the Col de Joux-Plane.
  • Hitting a max speed of 83.7 km/hr (51.9 mph) and flying like a Phoenix on his way to the most incredible moment in sports I have ever witnessed.

Allen Lim

What Floyd Landis did today was the sporting equivalent of lifting a wrecked car off of a loved one. And he did for hours on end, in front of a worldwide audience of millions.

Everyone could see the anger coursing through Landis at the finish. He didn’t smile, he didn’t cry, he raged. He tossed his bike to a helper and barked some orders. If someone had thrust a bunny into his arms Landis probably would have devoured it alive.

The incredible thing is that Landis sustained that force of will through the better part of five hours of racing. We are used to seeing sprinters with their killer face on, in the last meters of a race. Or opportunists like Erik Dekker in 2000; winning three stages, each in a different manner, but always with that rage. It was a state of mind the old Norse called “berserkr” that gave Floyd Landis the edge. The rage that comes from battle frenzy, when you know you have to win.

— Writer Craig Cook

“It wouldn’t be any fun if I told you what was going to happen next.”Floyd Landis

Comments (7) to “Rage Against the Machine”

  1. brilliant.

  2. really really good post. thanks.

  3. “It wouldn’t be any fun if I told you what was going to happen next.” — Floyd Landis

    Kinda takes on a whole new meaning after today, huh?

  4. Doper maybe? What the hell Floyd?

  5. In FLoyd We Trust…

    Sorry for the lack of posting. Once again I’ve been doing a lot of riding and not much else. But I found this cool site that has some awesome quotes about Floyd Landis after his Stage 17 ass-whooping he delivered……

  6. […] Stage 17 (July 20) - Landis mounts the most “most audacious and bravest rides seen in the modern era of the Tour de France” (Velonews), mounting a solo attack 125 km from the finish. He finished 5:42 ahead of the #2 place Carlos Sastre, and within :30 of the race leader Oscar Pereiro. More on the epic Stage 17 ride on Bob Roll’s blog… […]

  7. Nice site you have here. I do hope that you have either secured permission from the photographers or better yet, paid the photogs for the use of their copyrighted photos you have on here. That copyright infringement thing can be a real bitch if you’re in the wrong.

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