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An interview with Floyd Landis, July 20, 2006

Was it the beer?

Never before in recent Tour de France history has one witnessed such a amazing turnaround of events. Brecht Decaluwé wonders whether it was the beer that gave Floyd Landis his wings today.

Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Q: When you came across the finish line, you showed an angry face and pumped your fist. What was going on?

FL: I was very disappointed yesterday, for a little while. Then I thought about it and my team has worked very hard for me to get here. For me to have a bad day was something I couldn't control. But today I thought, I could at least show them that I could keep fighting. No matter what, whether I win or not, I'm going to prove to my team that I deserved to be a leader. I didn't expect that I could do it quite that well. I thought they might be a bit disorganised if I attacked that early. You saw what happened.

Q: What you did today, left everybody stunned. Are you still amazed about what you've just accomplished today?

FL: I think that what I did yesterday left a lot of people stunned. That wasn't what you expected at this point. Yesterday was a disaster. I didn't have my team work for three weeks, to give up after one bad day. It was a long shot, but after all those hard mountains stage you can assume that people are tired and chasing wouldn't work so well.

Q: In the beginning of the Tour de France it seemed that you wanted to win the Tour like Miguel Indurain did it; saving your forces and saving the team. In the end, you might win it like Eddy Merckx did by attacking. Is it a factor that his son is in the team?

Photo ©: Sirotti
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FL: From the beginning, I wanted to do it that way. After yesterday, I didn't have a choice. As to whether Axel being on the team is a factor, he's a champion, you saw yesterday and the day before. He has a heart... everybody in the team has a heart, and they believed in me. They deserve nothing less than the same from me. So yeah, it was for them, you saw what they did again. My team was very strong and determined.

Q: In [Tour de France] history, people talked about the wearer [of the yellow jersey] having the strength of two. It seems for you, not wanting to hold onto the yellow jersey then cracking yesterday, you had the pressure of two men. Was that what it was today, the pressure was just lifted from your shoulders and you show what you could do today?

FL: No, yesterday had nothing to do with pressure, as I felt bad from the beginning. We went very fast on Alpe d'Huez, thanks to Klöden there. Possibly I just went down from that. Yesterday was not a day where you wanted to feel bad. There were no sections between the climbs to recover. It was a disaster, it probably didn't look as I was fighting but that was as hard as I could go yesterday. I would like to say that I was just trying to make the race exciting but that was all I had.

Q: Was it a lesson from yesterday that you drank so much? You had tons of water over your head!

FL: It was very hot, I think that was the only explanation for the water. Or maybe it was because the beer I had last night.

Q: Just one?

Keeping cool
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

FL: Yeah, just one, I wasn't giving up just yet.

Q: What were your thoughts during this stage?

FL: I didn't spend too much time thinking during the stage. The plan was what we did from the beginning. After that, all I could do was hope that behind me they were disorganised or not strong enough to catch me. I didn't have a whole lot of information. I only had the time differences every now and then. It's hard to tell what's going on behind. When the time gaps didn't change for a long period of time I was pretty sure that they were working as hard as they could and that I was going to be ok.

Q: You're only thirty seconds behind Pereiro and only twelve seconds behind Sastre. What's going to happen now? Can you win it?

FL: It wouldn't be any fun if I told you what was going to happen next. (laughs) What I hope happens, I think it's obvious. I like to win the race. The only decisive day left is the time trial. I'm fairly confident in my time trialling ability; assuming I didn't overdo it today. There's a chance on that but we'll have to wait and see.

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