By Shane Stokes
Floyd Landis' training advisor Allen Lim has told Cyclingnews that he believes the rider is in the perfect position as the race heads towards the first big mountain stage on Wednesday. The Phonak rider is currently second overall, 1 minute behind T-Mobile's race leader Serguei Gonchar, and while Lim says Landis was racing to win the TT, the fact that the pressure of race leadership is off him for now is a plus.
"You never go into a time trial aiming for that, planning on giving up time, and I think that if Floyd could have won he would have gone for it. But now that we are sitting in this position [2nd overall], it is a great situation to be in. This is certainly is an excellent scenario."
Lim was impressed with his performance in the time trial. "He had a little bit of a mishap, breaking his time trial bars and having to change his bike, but he is on track. Holy cow! If we factor in the mishap and if we factor in some of the aerodynamic changes that occurred with the bicycles [the bars were lower as per the UCI regulations], he is exactly where he should be. Had he not have those mishaps, I think he would only have been 22 or 23 seconds down on first place. That is within plus or minus 3 Watts of where we thought he should have been, so everything is great.
"That said, it is still bike racing and just because the engine is good, everything is good, it doesn't mean that it [winning the Tour] is going to be plain sailing. The Tour is going to be very tactical race, it is still going to be a lot about luck and consistency, so I guess we will just play it day by day."
Monday's rest day brought the shock news that Landis has been battling a degenerative hip condition for quite some time, the pain of this affecting him while on and off the bike. Lim is one of a select few who would have known about the problem and says that it has been an issue in his performances for some time.
"It is everything. The hip rules the day. If the hip is good, he can go well but if it is not so good, then it affects him. But the one thing I will say is that he is one tough dude. This injury has given him a whole lot of mental toughness; the pain of cycling is nothing compared to that. He is one strong character. He can get through the Tour okay…he has been through worse. This is fine."
A full interview with Allen Lim will follow soon on Cyclingnews.