(Update, Dec. 28, 2006: Armstrong vs. Landis: It was good while it lasted — Armstrong drops out)
This is like one of those fantasy matches: “What if Satchel Paige pitched against Ichiro,” or “What if Johnny Unitas' Baltimore Colts took on Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts?”
The Floyd Landis camp issued a press release Tuesday that their guy is going to get on his mountain bike and race in the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, scheduled Aug. 11, 2007, in Leadville, Colorado.
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong had already agreed to ride in Leadville. This sets up a challenge between two Tour de France winners in a slightly different contest.
Who's missing? Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, of course. Wouldn't that be a wild contest? I wonder if race director Ken Chlouber has issued an invitation to him as well?
What's Leadville 100
The mountain bike race takes 750 riders on a out-and-back course between Leadville and the Columbine Mine aid station. The elevation ranges from 9,200 to 12,600 feet.
Although about 250 riders drop out before the finish, it has become so popular in recent years that places are rewarded by lottery.
Landis started his cycling career on a mountain bike in 1993 and continued until 1998 when he switched to roadie-dom. Armstrong, on the other hand, stuck to the road but had trained on a mountain bike later in his career. A downhill bail-out through a field during the 2004 Tour de France is credited to some off-road biking skills he picked up.
Landis and Armstrong have had some “history,” since Landis left US Postal to go on his own. Apparently there were some hard feelings, although those have healed over recently as Landis has turned to Armstrong for advice during his difficulties with the doping controversy.
LeMond, however, has publically taken on both Armstrong and Landis regarding doping.
It's obvious Armstrong and Landis are both super-competitive, and I'm sure both have signed up for Leadville 100 with the intention to win.
Robbie Ventura, coach for Landis, said in the press release:
“This will be Floyd's first big race of 2007 and we plan on having Floyd fit and ready to win. Floyd's training will ramp up significantly after January 1 and, with no hip pain, we think that he can handle even more training volume than before his winning ride at the Tour de France last year.”
Given Landis' problems with doping accusations (and recovery from October's hip surgery), it could be his only race of 2007.
UltraRob came across the first rumors of this on Monday and was the first blogger to get it in print. Nice heads up!
Here's a link to the full Landis press release.