Landis becomes the second American in this Tour to pull on the leader’s yellow jersey
Floyd Landis (Phonak) donned the yellow jersey on Thursday after finishing third behind Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) in the mountainous 11th stage.
“I had to be careful because I didn’t have a lot of teammates with me in the final climbs, but I felt good today,” said Landis.
Menchov, named the victor in last year’s Vuelta a España after winner Roberto Heras was disqualified for doping, outkicked the disappointed Leipheimer for the stage win as Landis contented himself with taking time on his rivals for the overall.
Menchov wins a three-up sprint to the finish
The Russian is now a new race favorite, but after sharing out the victory spoils he admitted it is early days yet.
“On the final climb I just happened to find myself with two teammates, and they did a lot of work which was a huge help to me in the end,” said the Russian, who moved up to third place overall behind Cyril Dessel after the Frenchman lost the yellow jersey to Landis by only eight seconds. “It wasn’t easy. Stages like that are always hard. But after 200km I still felt relatively okay.”
With three tough days starting in the Alps as of Tuesday, Menchov said it would be premature to begin naming an eventual successor to the now retired Lance Armstrong.