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Landis wins ITT, takes lead in Tour of California

Five minutes after he crossed the line in a blur, warmed down, pulled up to his Phonak team soigneur for a jacket, and signed some autographs for a couple of fans, Floyd Landis was ready to talk. He was anxious to find out how he had done in the crucial 27km time trial stage of the Amgen Tour of California. "Did I get it?" he asked his team helper. "We’ll find out in a minute," he was told, knowing he had already beaten stage favorite Dave Zabriskie of CSC by half a minute and that Discovery Channel’s race leader George Hincapie was about to finish.

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By John Wilcockson

Landis stays aero, even in a tight corner

Landis stays aero, even in a tight corner

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Five minutes after he crossed the line in a blur, warmed down, pulled up to his Phonak team soigneur for a jacket, and signed some autographs for a couple of fans, Floyd Landis was ready to talk. He was anxious to find out how he had done in the crucial 27km time trial stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

“Did I get it?” he asked his team helper.

“We’ll find out in a minute,” he was told, knowing he had already beaten stage favorite Dave Zabriskie of CSC by half a minute and that Discovery Channel’s race leader George Hincapie was about to finish.

“How’s Levi?” Landis asked about Gerolsteiner’s Levi Leipheimer, who started the day just four seconds out of first place.

“37:05,” was the answer.

“What was I?” Landis continued.

“35:58,” he was told.

“Oh, well,” Landis said with a grin, “that took care of that!”

At that moment, Hincapie was heading up the flat finish straightaway, urged on by an enthusiastic crowd of a couple thousand. He was coming through later than he had to if he were going to retain the overall lead. The time flashed up above the finish line: 36:53. Almost a minute back. Landis was the new owner of the Amgen golden jersey.

Hincapie, fourth at 55 seconds, is still honing his time-trial skills

Hincapie, fourth at 55 seconds, is still honing his time-trial skills

Photo: Graham Watson

Hincapie, still toweling sweat from his long face, was philosophical about losing the lead.

“Everything we’re doing here is the first effort of the year,” he pointed out. “I’m pleased though. I was fourth (behind Landis, Zabriskie and Bobby Julich). And those guys are all [time trial] specialists … and I’m trying to become one. Give me a little time and I’ll get there.”

It wasn't Leipheimer's day, out there in the wind - he finished ninth at 1:16

It wasn’t Leipheimer’s day, out there in the wind – he finished ninth at 1:16

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Back to basics
Unlike time trials that these Americans contest in July’s Tour de France, where thousands of fans urge on the riders every meter of the way, Wednesday afternoon’s stage saw each man racing in a virtual vacuum. This was particularly true on the mostly flat final 11km, after the panhandle-shaped course turned left into a head wind following a technical up-and-down opening loop.

The California Highway Patrol had pretty much sealed the course, so few spectators ventured beyond the start and finish areas … unless they arrived early in the day. With no crowds to shield the wind, the lighter riders had a hard time keeping their form all the way to the finish.

The first man to shine on this stretch was 59th starter Fabien Cancellara of CSC. The big Swiss, winner of the 2004 Tour prologue in Liège and a Paris-Roubaix specialist, set the standard at 37:01. His time was almost matched by Discovery’s young Russian sensation, Vladimir Gusev, but the first to beat Cancellara was a very determined Nathan O’Neill of Health Net-Maxxis.

The 31-year-old Aussie blazed home in 36:55. “I knew that the wind would be a factor,” O’Neill told VeloNews, “so I didn’t force it too much on the hills in the early part of the course. I rode it fairly steadily, but not ridiculously hard, you know. I never killed myself early, and I knew that the final 10K was going to be critical.”

One who did force it in the opening stretch was CSC’s Zabriskie — who used to live on the East Bay. The 2005 Tour’s opening time trial winner stopped the clock at 13:50 at the 10km point, which was 12 seconds faster than veteran teammate Julich and 16 seconds better than Landis and a surprisingly strong Cadel Evans of Davitamon-Lotto.

Leipheimer, 24 seconds back after the two main climbs, was clearly on a bad day. “I wasn’t feeling it today. I couldn’t get going. I kind of knew when I woke up I wasn’t having a good day.”

Things got worse for the Gerolsteiner man. “The last 12km, it just wasn’t my thing,” he said. “I’m 60 kilos (less than 135 pounds), and it’s a head wind, dead flat. It’s hard for me to compete against the bigger guys. That’s just the way it goes.”

Zabriskie, who many riders had tipped to win Wednesday, also suffered toward the end. “It was all right, but I didn’t really find that great of a rhythm,” he said. “I pushed a big gear, and tried to go fast. I’m surprised I did as well as I did.”

Danielson, 12th at 1:43

Danielson, 12th at 1:43

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Four days to go
With Landis having a strong Phonak team at his disposal, and with an overall lead of 29 seconds on runner-up Zabriskie, many are saying the race is over.

“It looks to me like Floyd’s got it,” said San Francisco prologue winner Leipheimer. “There’s no one left that can really challenge the GC, so I think it’s pretty much finished.”

Zabriskie opined: “I think Floyd has got a lot of friends in the race.”

But Zabriskie’s senior CSC teammate Julich was more hopeful. “It’s going to be hard to get back that kind of time, but we’ll try,” he said. “Phonak has a lot of work ahead of them, but so do we. And I’m sure Discovery, after getting blanked today, will come out ripping tomorrow.

Race note
Two-time Giro d’Italia winner Gilberto Simoni (Saunier-Duval-Prodir) missed his start, reportedly because his time-trial bike was under the UCI’s minimum weight. Scott USA marketing director Adrian Montgomery said that team mechanics scurried to add a water-bottle cage to Simoni’s bike to reach the UCI minimum of 6.8kg, or 14.96lbs.

“The mechanics didn’t have their scales in the trucks like they do in Europe,” Montgomery said. “To be honest, they didn’t think it would be that big of a deal here in California. But the time-trial frame only weighs 980 grams, and if you use the wrong combination of lightweight wheels you can easily go under the limit.” Or over it — Simoni lost nearly two minutes as a consequence of his technical difficulties and finished 105th on the day, at 5:27.

What’s next
Stage 4: Monterey to San Luis Obispo — The queen stage of this year’s race begins in Monterey and follows scenic Highway 1 where the mountains run into the Pacific Ocean. At 130 miles, this is the longest stage of the tour and will test the riders on consistently hilly and technical terrain. The six-hour day will see riders go through the community of Big Sur and pass by Hearst Castle before shifting inland toward the finish in San Luis Obispo. A series of climbs before the finish could bring fireworks.
—VeloNews senior writer Neal Rogers contributed to this report.


Results are posted. To see how the stage developed, simply CLICK HERE to bring up our Live Update window.

Photo Gallery

Results

Results

1. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak, 17mi in 38:58:91

2. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, at 0:26

3. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, at 0:35

4. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 0:55

5. Nathan O'Neill (Aus), Health Net-Maxxis, at 0:57

6. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, at 1:03

7. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

8. Hayden Roulston (NZl), Health Net-Maxxis, at 1:08

9. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner, at 1:16

10. Cadel Evans (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto, at 1:23

11. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak, at 1:29

12. Thomas Danielson (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 1:43

13. Christian Vande Velde (USA), CSC, at 1:44

14. Jason McCartney (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 1:45

15. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 1:47

16. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), CSC

17. Bernhard Kohl (A), T-Mobile, at 1:48

18. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Credit Agricole, at 1:58

19. Janez Brajkovic (Slo), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 2:01

20. Lars Ytting Bak (Dk), CSC, at 2:02

21. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at 2:06

22. Christopher Horner (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:08

23. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Davitamon-Lotto

24. Antonio Cruz (USA), Toyota-United, at 2:12

25. Michael Friedman (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 2:16

26. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, at 2:18

27. Phil Zajicek (USA), Navigators Insurance, at 2:19

28. Heath Blackgrove (NZl), Toyota-United, at 2:24

29. Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner, at 2:28

30. Jackson Stewart (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 2:29

31. Garcia José-Manuel (Mex), Toyota-United, at 2:30

32. Marco Pinotti (I), Saunier Duval, at 2:33

33. Glen Alan Chadwick (Aus), Navigators Insurance, at 2:34

34. Sergey Lagutin (UZB), Navigators Insurance, at 2:36

35. Pauriol Rémi (F), Credit Agricole, at 2:41

36. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:43

37. Christopher Baldwin (USA), Toyota-United, at 2:44

38. Michael Barry (Can), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling

39. Danny Pate (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 2:47

40. Alexandre Moos (Swi), Phonak, at 2:49

41. Mariano Friedick (USA), Toyota-United, at 2:53

42. Saul Raisin (USA), Credit Agricole, at 2:54

43. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 2:57

44. Todd Herriot (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

45. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, at 2:59

46. Pieter Mertens (B), Davitamon-Lotto

47. Torsten Hiekmann (G), Gerolsteiner, at 3:00

48. Karsten Kroon (Nl), CSC

49. Gomez Marchante José Angel (Sp), Saunier Duval, at 3:01

50. Vassili Davidenko (Rus), Navigators Insurance, at 3:02

51. Olaf Pollack (G), T-Mobile, at 3:07

52. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 3:09

53. Bastiaan Giling (Nl), T-Mobile, at 3:10

54. Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr), Navigators Insurance

55. Kilian Patour (F), Credit Agricole, at 3:14

56. Viktor Rapinski (Blr), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 3:16

57. Michael Creed (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 3:19

58. David O'Loughlin (IRL), Navigators Insurance

59. Timothy Johnson (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, at 3:24

60. Aaron Olsen (USA), Saunier Duval, at 3:30

61. Craig Lewis (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 3:34

62. Domingo Gonzalez (Mex), at 3:35

63. Jean Marc Marino (F), Credit Agricole, at 3:40

64. Gordon Fraser (Can), Health Net-Maxxis, at 3:43

65. Taylor Tolleson (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 3:49

66. Scott Zwizanski (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 3:52

67. Gregory Henderson (NZl), Health Net-Maxxis, at 3:54

68. Brian Jensen (USA), Jelly Belly, at 3:56

69. Riccardo Ricco (I), Saunier Duval, at 3:59

70. David Kopp (G), Gerolsteiner, at 4:04

71. Michael Jones (USA), Health Net-Maxxis

72. Scott Moninger (USA), Health Net-Maxxis

73. Koldo Gil Perez (Sp), Saunier Duval, at 4:08

74. Portal Sébastien (F), Credit Agricole, at 4:15

75. Bart Dockx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 4:18

76. Scott Davis (Aus), T-Mobile, at 4:19

77. Thomas Peterson (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 4:20

78. Zachary Grabowski (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 4:23

79. Fabian Wegmann (G), Gerolsteiner, at 4:25

80. Mark Walters (Can), Navigators Insurance

81. Mark Mccormack (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 4:26

82. Mads Kaggestad (Nor), Credit Agricole, at 4:27

83. Fausto Esparza (Mex), at 4:28

84. Tyler Wren (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 4:30

85. Justin England (USA), Toyota-United, at 4:31

86. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Phonak, at 4:32

87. Dominique Perras (Can), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 4:35

88. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner, at 4:36

89. Nick Reistad (USA), Jelly Belly, at 4:39

90. Kyle Wamsley (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home

91. Mc Carty Jonathan Patrick (USA), Phonak, at 4:40

92. Matthew Rice (Aus), Jelly Belly, at 4:41

93. Martin Perdiguero Miguel Angel (Sp), Phonak, at 4:42

94. Andrew Bajadali (USA), Jelly Belly, at 4:50

95. Charles Bradley Huff (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 4:53

96. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Phonak, at 4:56

97. Mike Sayers (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, at 5:07

98. Martin Gilbert (Can), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 5:13

99. Preben Van Hecke (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 5:15

100. Michael Dietrich (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 5:18

101. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner

102. Greipel André (G), T-Mobile, at 5:20

103. Lucas Euser (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 5:22

104. Kirk Albers (USA), Jelly Belly, at 5:24

105. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saunier Duval, at 5:27

106. Gustavo Artacho (Arg), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 5:28

107. Benjamin Brooks (Aus), Navigators Insurance

108. Brice Jones (USA), Jelly Belly, at 5:32

109. Haedo Juan José (Arg), Toyota-United, at 5:34

110. Davide Frattini (I), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 5:36

111. Alex Candelario (USA), Jelly Belly, at 5:40

112. Frantisek Rabon (Cz), T-Mobile, at 5:46

113. Haselbacher René (A), Gerolsteiner, at 5:48

114. Korff André (G), T-Mobile, at 5:50

115. Jesus Zarate (Mex), at 5:53

116. David Robinson (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 5:56

117. Peter Lopinto (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 6:04

118. Caleb Manion (Aus), Jelly Belly, at 6:09

119. Charles Dionne (Can), Saunier Duval, at 6:39

120. Arquimides Lam (Mex), at 6:51

Olivier Kaisen (B), Davitamon-Lotto

Overall (after stage three)

1. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak, at 7:56:36

2. David Zabriskie (USA), CSC, at 0:29

3. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, at 0:34

4. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 0:45

5. Nathan O'Neill (Aus), Health Net-Maxxis, at 1:08

6. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner, at 1:10

7. Cadel Evans (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto, at 1:29

8. Thomas Danielson (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 1:49

9. Christian Vande Velde (USA), CSC, at 1:55

10. Jason McCartney (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 1:58

11. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Credit Agricole, at 2:14

12. Bernhard Kohl (A), T-Mobile, at 2:15

13. Christopher Horner (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:17

14. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:20

15. Phil Zajicek (USA), Navigators Insurance, at 2:32

16. Pauriol Rémi (F), Credit Agricole, at 2:52

17. Michael Barry (Can), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 2:56

18. Saul Raisin (USA), Credit Agricole, at 3:11

19. Alexandre Moos (Swi), Phonak, at 3:22

20. Gomez Marchante José Angel (Sp), Saunier Duval

21. Riccardo Ricco (I), Saunier Duval, at 4:10

22. Hayden Roulston (NZl), Health Net-Maxxis, at 4:31

23. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 5:20

24. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saunier Duval, at 5:41

25. Heath Blackgrove (NZl), Toyota-United, at 5:50

26. Glen Alan Chadwick (Aus), Navigators Insurance, at 6:11

27. Christopher Baldwin (USA), Toyota-United, at 6:13

28. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 6:20

29. Danny Pate (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 6:21

30. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 6:26

31. Karsten Kroon (Nl), CSC, at 6:30

32. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 6:32

33. Pieter Mertens (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 6:37

34. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, at 6:38

35. Torsten Hiekmann (G), Gerolsteiner, at 6:39

36. Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr), Navigators Insurance, at 6:49

37. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak, at 6:55

38. Michael Creed (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 6:59

39. Janez Brajkovic (Slo), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, at 7:36

40. Scott Moninger (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, at 7:43

41. Mads Kaggestad (Nor), Credit Agricole, at 7:58

42. Antonio Cruz (USA), Toyota-United, at 8:00

43. Koldo Gil Perez (Sp), Saunier Duval, at 8:02

44. Marco Pinotti (I), Saunier Duval, at 8:10

45. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Phonak, at 8:20

46. Mc Carty Jonathan Patrick (USA), Phonak, at 8:22

47. Thomas Peterson (USA), TIAA-CREF

48. Todd Herriot (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 8:37

49. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Phonak, at 8:43

50. Craig Lewis (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 9:12

51. David O'Loughlin (IRL), Navigators Insurance

52. Lucas Euser (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 9:16

53. Taylor Tolleson (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 9:29

54. Brian Jensen (USA), Jelly Belly, at 9:36

55. Bart Dockx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 10:07

56. Dominique Perras (Can), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 10:25

57. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, at 10:30

58. Greipel André (G), T-Mobile, at 10:58

59. Scott Davis (Aus), T-Mobile, at 11:09

60. Michael Jones (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, at 11:14

61. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), CSC, at 11:16

62. Caleb Manion (Aus), Jelly Belly, at 11:55

63. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at 11:56

64. Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner, at 12:07

65. Davide Frattini (I), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 12:16

66. Sergey Lagutin (UZB), Navigators Insurance, at 12:26

67. Bastiaan Giling (Nl), T-Mobile, at 12:59

68. Arquimides Lam (Mex), at 13:02

69. Kilian Patour (F), Credit Agricole, at 13:15

70. Jean Marc Marino (F), Credit Agricole, at 13:27

71. David Kopp (G), Gerolsteiner, at 13:41

72. Scott Zwizanski (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 13:50

73. Portal Sébastien (F), Credit Agricole, at 14:05

74. Mark Walters (Can), Navigators Insurance, at 14:06

75. Tyler Wren (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 14:11

76. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner, at 14:13

77. Martin Perdiguero Miguel Angel (Sp), Phonak, at 14:16

78. Fausto Esparza (Mex), at 14:30

79. Kyle Wamsley (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 14:33

80. Andrew Bajadali (USA), Jelly Belly, at 14:36

81. Preben Van Hecke (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 15:04

82. Haselbacher René (A), Gerolsteiner, at 15:22

83. Benjamin Brooks (Aus), Navigators Insurance, at 15:30

84. Korff André (G), T-Mobile, at 15:37

85. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, at 16:51

86. Lars Ytting Bak (Dk), CSC, at 16:52

87. Michael Friedman (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 17:04

88. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, at 17:08

89. Garcia José-Manuel (Mex), Toyota-United, at 17:13

90. Olaf Pollack (G), T-Mobile, at 17:44

91. Viktor Rapinski (Blr), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 17:55

92. Mariano Friedick (USA), Toyota-United, at 17:56

93. Timothy Johnson (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, at 18:00

94. Aaron Olsen (USA), Saunier Duval, at 18:07

95. Gordon Fraser (Can), Health Net-Maxxis, at 18:11

96. Gregory Henderson (NZl), Health Net-Maxxis, at 18:37

97. Vassili Davidenko (Rus), Navigators Insurance, at 18:43

98. Zachary Grabowski (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 18:58

99. Mark Mccormack (USA), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 19:03

100. Justin England (USA), Toyota-United, at 19:11

101. Matthew Rice (Aus), Jelly Belly, at 19:27

102. Charles Bradley Huff (USA), TIAA-CREF, at 19:31

103. Nick Reistad (USA), Jelly Belly, at 19:35

104. Mike Sayers (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, at 20:04

105. Michael Dietrich (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 20:06

106. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner

107. Martin Gilbert (Can), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 20:16

108. Haedo Juan José (Arg), Toyota-United

109. Jackson Stewart (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 20:17

110. Kirk Albers (USA), Jelly Belly, at 20:27

111. Brice Jones (USA), Jelly Belly, at 20:36

112. Alex Candelario (USA), Jelly Belly, at 20:37

113. Frantisek Rabon (Cz), T-Mobile, at 20:52

114. Peter Lopinto (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 21:10

115. Charles Dionne (Can), Saunier Duval, at 21:52

116. Jesus Zarate (Mex), at 23:34

117. Fabian Wegmann (G), Gerolsteiner, at 26:13

118. David Robinson (USA), KodakGallery.com-Sierra Nevada, at 28:15

119. Gustavo Artacho (Arg), Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, at 29:14

120. Domingo Gonzalez (Mex), at 35:33