We got your panache right here, pal. Whether he intended to or not, Landis offered up a good answer to his critics.
photo: Graham Watson
…any wonder why I’m becoming this guy’s biggest fan?!
Landis’ heroics the day before created a huge buzz at the Tour. Rivals and experts alike were in agreement that his attacking ride Thursday was one of the most epic demonstrations in cycling history. L’Equipe called it the “Ride of the Century.”
Landis handled all the attention with typical aplomb. He answered a few questions from journalists before disappearing after the stage. He’ll preview the course in the morning and then race for his place in history.
“I was strong yesterday. I did a bit of a time trial yesterday,” he said joking. “So it was a good warm-up.”
Landis remains confident – thirsty, but confident
photo: Graham Watson
His calm public demeanor is in marked contrast with the ambition and desire burning within his frame. Maybe it was a charged-up fan who put it best, who yelled out as Landis slipped away.
“Give ‘em hell tomorrow, Floyd, give ‘em hell!”
If Landis’s performance so far in this Tour is any indication, that’s the one thing you can safely bet on.
None of my colleagues in the cycling press thought to ask Floyd Landis the two questions I wanted answered after Stage 17: What kind of beer were you drinking last night, and where can I get some?
This is what happens when a magazine sends amateur tipplers to cover a sporting contest of this magnitude. John Wilcockson may have written up 39 Tours de France, but I’ll bet you a case of Deschutes Brewery’s Twilight Ale that I can drink that skinny Limey under the table without even getting up to take a leak. And I certainly expected more from Rupert Guinness, who in addition to being named after an Irish beer is an Aussie - on the rare occasions when one of those guys gets hurt badly enough to bleed, the stuff tests out at 8 percent alcohol, and comes complete with a foamy head.
I mean, c’mon - how many cues does a savvy scribe need? During a press conference after Landis went as flat as a 2-year-old Michelob Ultra on the Stage-16 grunter to La Toussuire, the former race leader was asked, “How do you deal with this from a mental standpoint?”
His reply: “I don’t know. Drink some beer? That’s what I’m thinking about now.”
Then, at a press conference on Thursday, after Landis chased down an 11-man breakaway, killed them and ate them, built a new bicycle out of their bones, and roared away in a pillar of fire to win the stage to Morzine and jump back to within 30 seconds of the yellow jersey, he mentioned beer once again.
Asked why he kept calling for water, more water, alternately drinking it and pouring it over his head, Landis quipped: “It was very hot. Maybe that was the explanation, or maybe it was the beer I had last night.” No follow-up question. Good Lord, what the hell are they teaching in journalism schools these days? Stenography? Sobriety? The man has discovered the elixir of the gods in some anonymous French taproom and the sporting press just stands there like so many badly dressed mannequins, pondering their next hoary cliche.
Was it Shiner Bock? Didn’t the French outlaw that brew after Lance went all bulletproof on them? Chimay? No, Landis is a Mennonite cyclist, not a Trappist monk. Stella Artois? Wasn’t she in “A Streetcar Named Desire?”
Frantic, I e-mailed my pal Big Jonny at DrunkCyclist, who has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of cyclists and their beverages. But he was off somewhere, either cycling or drinking, or both, and I got no reply.
Oh, it’s maddening, I tell you. I could be a six-pack away from cycling success - I just don’t know which six-pack has the killer legs in it. So I’m off to the liquor store with an empty Toyota pickup and a credit card. I figure I’ll start with Anchor Steam and work my way down the alphabet to Zywiec Porter until I find the one that does the trick.
I know what you’re thinking: “Why don’t you just ask Floyd what beer he was drinking?” Well, yeah, I could do that, I suppose. But there’s no guarantee he’d tell me. Would you? Besides, it’s Friday, the Tour’s on TV, and I’m thirsty for some reason. And you never know - we might have something worth raising a glass to come Sunday.
window.open(‘/view_full.php?image=/images/details/10493.15858.f.jpg’, ‘ViewFull’, ‘height=730,width=519,toolbar=no’);
window.open(‘/view_full.php?image=/images/details/10515.15890.f.jpg’, ‘ViewFull’, ‘height=667,width=470,toolbar=no’);