Phonak's team leader Floyd Landis has had a big opening week of the Tour, confirming his status as one of the race's favourites by taking second place in the first long time trial despite a bike swap and finishing the opening week second overall. But to keep things interesting, Landis chose the rest day to announce that he has been battling a severe hip injury for the last few years and will undergo replacement surgery after the Tour. Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan was there for the announcement.
"No, it doesn't feel to me like this is the last one. I don't race any differently, knowing that maybe it is or maybe it isn't. Until now, I've had a very good season and I've proved I can win some of the hardest races, so whatever happens here will be an outcome of the race."
Floyd Landis, Phonak's 30 year-old team leader, is talking about the possible consequences of his imminent hip replacement surgery. Landis has been dealing with a persistent hip problem since a crash in 2003, and yesterday finally conceded that he was going to need to get the joint replaced after this year's Tour.
The accident happened in January of 2003. Landis was out training by himself near his home in San Diego, where he lost control of his bike on some loose gravel, falling and broke the head of the femur on his right leg.
"The bone close to my hip had severed completely," said Landis. "I had surgery to reattach it, hoping it would heal. The following years showed that didn't work out exactly like we hoped. The odds of it working out were pretty high to start with," he mused.
"Since then, I've had two more surgeries, the last at the end of 2004, where we tried to restore some blood flow to the hip in order to prolong the functioning hip I had. At that point, we didn't have any misconception that the damaged hip was going to be the same, or that it would never need to be replaced - that was clear. The operation was to try and increase the blood flow and slow down the degeneration process."