Stage 3 ITT: Landis Puts Some Time Between Himself and the Heads of State

Floy Landis Leaving Start Area
Landis On a Roll: Floyd Landis finished first in
the Stage 3 Time Trial at the Tour de Georgia.

See more TdG photos in in the
Operation Gadget Photo Gallery. [ Photo: Dave Aiello ]

Floyd Landis of Phonak Hearing Systems demonstrated good early season form by taking the Stage 3 Individual Time Trial around Rome, Georgia. Rain had some impact on the outcome, with Bobby Julich falling 28 seconds behind, good for fourth place and Lance Armstrong in ninth place at 1 minute 46 seconds. The stage results are:

  • 1. Floyd Landis (Phonak), 39 minutes, 58 seconds
  • 2. David Zabriske (Team CSC), +19 seconds
  • 3. Christopher Baldwin (Navigators), +22
  • 4. Bobby Julich (Team CSC), +28
  • 5. Nathan O'Neill (Navigators), +43
  • 6. Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), +50
  • 9. Lance Armstrong (Team Discovery Channel), +1:46

Leaders in the race overall:

  • Floyd Landis, General Classification
  • Greg Henderson, Sprint Leader
  • Trent Lowe, Best Young Rider
  • Andrea Tafi, King of the Moutains
  • Team CSC, Team General Classification

Frank Steele from TDFblog and I talked to Scott Ogle one of the TV cameramen that I mentioned in How TV Cameras Follow the Tour de Georgia to get his impressions of the course. He said that there was a lot of standing water on the downside of Mount Alto and Lance Armstrong in particular took it easy on the descent.

Of his performance, Armstrong said, "Clearly I'm disappointed. I didn't feel great but I thought I'd do a better ride than that.... {It} clearly shows that I have some work to do." He also said that he's "probably behind on fitness" this year, compared to 2004. "I thought I caught up, but like I said, now I know I haven't, and now it's time to reevaluate the season."

Regarding Discovery's plans for the rest of the race, Armstrong said, "If we still have ambitions to try and win, we have to be aggressive. We'll just play it by ear. Now the race is on the shoulders of Phonak and CSC, and we'll just be secondary players and see if we can mix things up a little."

Floyd Landis was pleased with his performance, saying, "It couldn't have gone better. I didn't expect to win this morning. I know there are some very strong riders here.... My idea was to go see how well the first half went and then if I had the possibility to win take some risks downhill, but if I wasn't doing well I certainly wouldn't have taken any risks."

In order to make up one minute 46 seconds, Discovery will need to break free from both Phonak and CSC. However, Frank Steele and I agreed at lunch that Discovery brought a squad that's optimized for climbing, so they will have to make their moves tomorrow and Saturday.

By the way, last year on this same course, Lance Armstrong was the only rider to finish in under 40 minutes.