Talk the talk about Floyd Landis

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I would have to go back to 1989, when I watched the taped broadcast of Greg Lemond's final-day victory over Laurent Fignon, to recall a more exciting stage of the Tour de France.

It seemed that even Floyd Landis had accepted defeat after his disasterous Stage 16 collapse. What happened Thursday wasn't a miracle, it was pure guts. Here's a sample of what's been said and written in the past 24 hours about Landis:

Landis told CyclingNews:

“I was very disappointed yesterday (Wednesday), 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.”

Longtime Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc:

“The best stage I have ever followed. … I remember the ride of Eddy Merckx in 1969 in the Pyrenees, when he went alone for more than 100 kilometers. Today was the same with Floyd. One day before, he was the leader, then he was defeated. But he was no coward, and thanks to his great heart, it is a very great performance.”

Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong's training coach, at the

“Today Floyd Landis took the only option left to him after yesterday’s dramatic collapse; he attacked off the front waged war on the Tour de France. He stopped thinking, reached deep down and tapped into that primal, predatory urge we’ve suppressed for thousands of year, and rode with the strength of ten men to reassert himself as the strongest man in the race and the likely winner of the 2006 Tour de France.”

David Zabriskie, Team CSC and Landis' buddy:

“I saw Floyd this morning and gave him a big hug at the start. He said he was okay and he said he was going to attack today. He said that, one way or another, he was going to be remembered. And man, he is on a mission! I think he was just going for a stage win, but in the end he rode into the history books.”

Operation Gadget blog:

“Floyd Landis' performance today surpassed all of the epic rides I've seen in person or on television. The closest thing I can think of to the level of sheer effort expended by Landis was when Tyler Hamilton soloed into Bayonne on Stage 16 in 2003. The difference is that Hamilton wasn't riding himself back into serious contention in the General Classification after losing over eight minutes to the field in the previous stage.”

Paul Sherwen, OLN cycling commentator:

“The end of the Landis dream.!!!! Did I actually write that yesterday! How good it feels to be wrong. I have just witnessed one of the greatest racing days that I have ever seen. Yes, there was Claudio Chiappucci in 1992 on his way to Sestrieres but that wasn't the day after he had cracked and lost ten minutes.”

Craig Cook, Bicycling magazine:

“They said he lacked panache. Today in Morzine the panache lingers thicker in the air than cigarette smoke in a Tour de France press tent circa 1975. There are no superlatives to do justice to Floyd Landis' victory this afternoon in Morzine.”

Gordan Cameron at Pez Cycling:

“24 hours ago, a meltdown of gigantic proportions buried Floyd Landis and his Tour de France. Today, the MAN somehow clawed his way out of the cycling grave. The Floyd simply took off, in a way that his old boss Lance Armstrong never did.”

Bob Roll, OLN cycling commentator:

“Today we’ve seen the greatest single day ride in the history of the Tour de France.  We’ve seen more dominant performances throughout the 3 weeks of the Tour than many times before. Floyd Landis barely clinging to life at the start of today’s stage, has dragged himself through determination, through will and through true grid, in fact contention, he can win the Tour de France.”

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