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Was there ever really any doubt? The Phonak leader has all but sewn up victory with a strong time trial performance, easily taking the 18 and 30 seconds he needed from Carlos Sastre and Oscar Pereiro respectively to now stand 59 seconds in front of Pereiro and 3-13 ahead of Sastre, whose poor performance meant he was leapfrogged by Andreas Kloden, who is third overall, 1-29 behind Landis. Third-last to leave the start house, the American consistently pulled away from his rivals, tucked in his trademark 'praying mantis' position. It wasn't enough to stop a T-Mobile one-two on the stage, with Serhiy Honchar taking the win and Kloden taking second, but it got Landis his yellow jersey back. Barring incident, it will be the eighth straight win in this race by an American, the 11th American win in 20 years, and the third American winner in history after Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong.
It's been and up and down - and mainly down - Tour for the German squad, and former team of Jan Ullrich, sacked on Friday for his involvement in the Fuentes affair. Still, Saturday brought some good news, with Serhiy Honchar taking his second time trial stage win of this year's race, and Andreas Kloden, in taking second on the stage, taking the third step on the podium in Paris behind Landis and Pereiro after taking more than four minutes out of Carlos Sastre. Their tactics at this year's race will be questioned for a long time, failing to take advantage of what was the strongest team in the field to control the race, but they will, at least, take home the prize for best team in the race thanks to some consistent performances.
After Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero's abandon on Thursday's stage to the Joux Plane, Robert Hunter became the second rider from Floyd Landis's Phonak team to abandon the race - for finishing outside the time limit on Saturday's time trial. Perdiguero decided to stay with the team to help celebrate victory in Paris - that is, providing there are no scares on the final stage, and Hunter will do the same. You have to feel for them both, though, not being able to ride into Paris with Landis in yellow, but at least they can be happy that they did their job for him, and will be able to join the party afterwards.