Floyd Landis (Phonak) has virtually sealed overall victory in the 2006 Tour de France after retaking the yellow jersey from Spain’s Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d’Epargne) in Saturday?s decisive time trial.
Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile) won the 57km test in a time of 1-07-45 but Landis was third in 1-08-56 and was 1-29 faster than Pereiro (fourth) and more than three minutes faster than Carlos Sastre (CSC).
Landis now leads Pereiro by 59 seconds with Germany’s Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile) third at 1-29. Kloden was second in the time trial in 1-08-26 and moved past Sastre to take the third palce on the Tour podium. Sastre is now fourth overall at 3-13 and Australis’s Cadel Evans (Davitamon) is fifth overall at 5-08.
Landis will be crowned winner of the 2006 Tour de France after the 20th stage to the Champs Elysees in Paris on Sunday. He joins Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong as the third American to win cycling’s biggest race.
?I gave it everything and so I?m very proud of what I?ve done. Two days ago I had the best win of my life and now it?s even better, this is a great day!? Landis said.
David Millar (Saunier Duval) finished an impressive 11th place, with a time of 1-11-46. The Scot started slowly but finished in crescendo and revealed the emotions of his return to racing at the Tour.
?It?s been three weeks of happiness and it?ll be a very special moment when I ride onto the Champs Elysees on Sunday,? he said.
?The Tour is my life and I love it. When I climbed L?Alpe d?Huez it was a very emotional moment and I was almost in tears. Lots of people were shouting my name and I want to thank them for their support.?
Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) admitted he did not feel good before the start of the time trial and set a time of 1-15-20.
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 57km in 1.07.45
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 0.41
3 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.11
4 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears 2.40
5 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3.18
6 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 3.35
7 Viatscheslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel 3.41
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
9 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak 3.43
10 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 3.44
Overall standings after stage 19
1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 85.42.30
2 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears 0.59
3 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 1.29
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 3.13
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 5.08
6 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 7.06
7 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 8.41
8 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 9.37
9 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 12.05
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 15.07