Chatting to Phonak masseur Freddy Viane at the start of stage five in Avignon this morning, Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner found out that the former masseur of Lance Armstrong is now Floyd Landis' exclusive physiotherapist. Viane revealed that he, like Jan Ullrich's personal masseur Birgit Krohme, could tell the level of form of his his protégé by the feel of his leg muscles.
"It does make a difference," said Viane, who has been doing the job for more than ten years. "With the experience, you can also tell the general class of a rider, and I can tell you that Landis has plenty of it! Plus, he has that special killer instinct true champions have." Coming from the one who accompanied Armstrong in six of his seven Tour de France victories, it was hard to argue.
"Ah, how nice of him to say that," laughed Landis when we spread the word to him. "But I don't know if that system [of comparing muscle structure] works! We'll see, I can't promise."