Landis the Emperor in Rome
Floyd Landis (Phonak) has captured the leader's jersey in the Tour de Georgia after winning the difficult stage 3 time trial in Rome. Riding in wet conditions, Landis beat countrymen David Zabriskie (CSC) by 19 seconds and Christopher Baldwin (Navigators) by 22. Overnight leader Robert Hunter finished 15th, and conceded his leader's jersey to his teammate Landis.
The course, which contained a tough climb, suited the Lancaster, Pennsylvania born Landis. "We reconnoitred the course, which has plenty of nasty corners, in detail in the morning," said Phonak's sporting director René Savary, who added that Landis was riding the latest BMC time trial machine: "The bike has perfect aerodynamics, supports an optimised airflow, and permits the ideal transfer of power."
"I feel completely happy," said Landis. "Everything was just right. The 19 seconds lead over Zabriskie are no pillow to lean back on though." Coming up are four hard climbs on Friday and the notorious ascent of Brasstown Bald on Saturday, where the GC will be decided.
Defending champion Lance Armstrong certainly did not have the best time trial of his career, finishing in ninth at 1'46. "Clearly disappointed," Armstrong revealed right after the race. "I didn't feel great, but I thought I would do better."
"I think something to consider with Lance is that it's his first time trial this year," Director Sportif Johan Bruyneel explained. "Last year [prior to the Tour de Georgia] he did a long time trial in [Vuelta ao] Algarve and Criterium International." Nonetheless, this performance will be noted around the professional peloton. "Today was definitely not a great ride from him and you can definitely see he didn't have it."