Landis fell from first place to 11th Wednesday. Riding in the Alps on Thursday, he won his first Tour stage and pulled to within 30 seconds of the leader, Spain's Oscar Pereiro.
Spain's Carlos Sastre was in second place at the end of the day Thursday, 12 seconds behind Pereiro.
Landis' ride -- in which he rode unaided for close to 140 kilometers -- was being compared to great Tour performances of the past, The New York Times reported. It also means the winner of this year's Tour de France will likely be settled in Saturday's 35.4-mile time trial, the newspaper said.
Saturday's stage and Sunday's finale are relatively flat stages that are expected to feature sprints to the finish among the top contenders.