With yet another stunning comeback in the final time trial, Landis reclaimed the famed yellow jersey of the Tour de France leader Saturday along with a 59-second lead that should land him atop the victory podium in Paris.
The American would be picking up where another Yank left off just last year, when Lance Armstrong completed his seventh and final Tour triumph.
“I could not be happier,” Landis said. “It’s one of the best days of my life.”
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The Phonak team leader, who trailed former teammate Oscar Pereiro of Spain by 30 seconds before the penultimate Stage 19, outpaced the Spaniard by 1 minute, 29 seconds in the race against the clock.
Overall, Pereiro fell to second, 59 seconds behind Landis, while German rider Andreas Kloeden, 1:29 back, pushed Spaniard Carlos Sastre off the podium into fourth.
Sunday’s ride could be the most anticlimactic moment of this unpredictable Tour, marked by Landis’ bizarre performance swings — from despair to elation — and news that he’s been riding with an arthritic hip.