Lance Armstrong may have retired, but the French still have to worry about whether the American cyclists will let them win their own bike races.
In today's stage of Paris-Nice, American Floyd Landis (Team Phonak), fresh off a win at the inaugural Tour of California, broke away at a critical point - and stayed away. The stage win went to Spain's 'Patxi' Vila of Team Lampre with Landis right on his wheel to take second. Landis didn't contest Vila taking the stage, so I suspect that Landis knew he'd won an even more important victory. The two riders came in a minute and 16 seconds ahead of the next group, and Landis took the leader's jersey from Tom Boonen. He looks in great shape now to keep the lead all the way to Nice on Sunday.
In other cycling news, this author's favorite cyclist, Ivan Basso, is in an Italian race this week - Tirreno-Adriatico - which began today and runs through the 14th. Basso is undoubtedly using this race as part of his training schedule, to get himself ready for what he hopes will be two Grand Tour victories in one year - the Giro d'Italia in May, and the Tour de France in July. Italian Paolo Bettini of Team Quick.Step (who, for no reason I can put my finger on, just bugs me) took today's stage win. There are plenty of other sprinters in the race (including two I adore, Italy's Alessandro Petacchi and elder statesman Erik Zabel of Germany, both on the new Team Milram), so we'll see what the rest of the week brings.