The Tour de France is a pitiless race. Just yesterday, American Floyd Landis was the overall leader and considered a strong favorite to capture the title. In some quarters, he was being anointed as the successor to Lance Armstrong. Today, after struggling in a grueling 113-mile mountain stage in the Alps, Landis is in 11th place, more than eight minutes behind the leader, Oscar Pereiro of Spain.
The tour is a three-week marathon, filled with shifts in momentum. But for the leader to lose more than eight minutes this late in the race is disastrous. Landis could be in real trouble.