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Who is Floyd Landis?

As the Tour de France makes it turn towards the Alps a new star has risen… Floyd Landis.

Floyd was the former wingman for Lance, who helped him win his 5th and 6th Tour De France. In 2005 Floyd made the leap from wingman to leader for the Phonak Hearing Systems Pro Cycling Team. Many critics were holding a question mark over whether or not Floyd could successfully earn the respect of his teammates to become the team leader. The soft-spoken yet rebellious spirited Landis had a lot to prove, and he did just that.

With the help from his Custom M FRAMES® with High Definition Optics (HDO®), his year has started brilliantly. In February, he won the Tour of California. In March, he won Paris-Nice, and in April he won the Tour de Georgia…..all of this with virtually one leg.

One leg? Yes, Floyd will have to undergo a hip replacement after the Tour de France, as a result of a degenerative bone condition that started when he broke his hip three and a half years ago. He has been riding in pain since he broke his hip while on a training ride in California in January 2003.

"If I hadn’t had a bicycle-racing career, I would have had the hip replaced two years ago because I don’t really want to deal with the pain," Landis said. "It’s bad, it’s grinding, and it’s bone rubbing on bone. Sometimes it’s a sharp pain. When I pedal and walk, it comes and goes, but mostly it’s an ache, like an arthritis pain. It aches down my leg into my knee. The morning is the best time, it doesn’t hurt too much. But when I walk it hurts, when I ride it hurts. Most of the time it doesn’t keep me awake, but there are nights that it does."

Landis’ condition is called avascular necrosis, which is common with this type of injury. "Scar tissue closes the blood vessels in the hip and the ball on the hip collapses," he explained, also confirming that he had an operation to ease the pain two years ago." He is permitted to take cortisone to help with the pain.

Landis plans to schedule his hip replacement surgery for a few weeks after the Tour de France, to give himself maximum time to train for the following year’s race. After the hip replacement, he is looking forward to competing again at full strength. His coach, Allen Lim, predicts that he will be much stronger when he comes back.

His early season successes in Paris-Nice, the Tour of Georgia and, the Tour of California had critics naming him as Armstrong’s Tour successor. He can climb, as he showed on multiple occasions when serving his apprenticeship as Armstrong’s domestique.

The tour route should suit Landis as he can time-trial as well as climb – he won both major tests in Georgia and California. He’s been difficult to spot recently, but his early 2006 tour victories clearly mark him as a favorite.

Landis, who only days ago announced he would undergo hip replacement surgery at the end of the season, now looks increasingly like the man who could succeed Armstrong.

On July 13th, the future of the Tour was made clear….Floyd is the real deal, and is in France this year to win.

After 6 hours of climbing 5 big mountains in row (a shark tooth looking profile) Floyd worked himself into the coveted yellow leaders jersey by taking 3rd at the line with the best climbers in the world.

After such a result, losing the stage was not a huge disappointment for the man who was once a member of Armstrong’s old team, US Postal.

"I was just trying to put time into the other guys. It was not my objective to win the stage".

Congrats Floyd, we are proud of you!

Look out for many more surprises in the coming days as the riders climb the Alps, as a certain American has big plans to wear yellow on the road back to paris.

Current Overall General classification through Stage 15:
(Oakley Athletes in Red)

  • Floyd Landis ( USA)
  • Oscar Pereiro Sio (Esp) at 0:10
  • Cyril Dessel (F) at 2:02
  • Denis Menchov (Rus) at 2:12
  • Carlos Sastre (Esp) at 2:17
  • Andréas Klöden (Ger) at 2:29
  • Cadel Evans (Aus) at 2:56
  • Michael Rogers (Aus) at 5:01
  • Levi Leipheimer ( USA) at 6:18
  • Haimar Zubeldia (Esp) at 6:20

Special thanks to Tim de Waele, Graham Watson and Tom Moran for all the great photo gallery shots.


Staff Writer


February 04, 2006