Only two weeks after his doping arbitration hearing at Pepperdine University in California, Floyd Landis returned to competition. Although he awaits a verdict in his hearing and on whether he gets to keep his 2006 Tour de France title, Landis was able to compete at the Teva Mountain Games in Colorado because it was not a UCI sanctioned event.
Landis' first event was the mountain bike race on Saturday, in which he participated to raise money for charity. Despite being an accomplished mountain biker before his road career, Landis finished 49th. He was caught and passed by women's winner Shonny Vanlandingham. According to the Associated Press, Landis said the race wasn't about results, but was about getting away from the stress of fighting doping allegations and remember how fun racing can be.
"I haven't suffered in a while," he said according to the Associated Press afterward. It was his first mountain bike race finish in nearly nine years. "I figured this was a good place to start," said Landis, who is preparing to contest the Leadville 100 later this season on August 11.
"There were quite a few weeks when I rode a reasonable amount, 200-300 miles a week," he said to the Denver Post. "Then that hearing. It was almost 10 days. I didn't ride at all. You're sitting there. The next thing you know, you're eating doughnuts and you don't even care. It was awful." He said his new, surgically repaired hip was performing at 100%.
Local Jay Henry won the race ahead of Ross Schnell and another Vail local Jimmy Mortenson. Mountain bike legend Ned Overend, at 52 years-old, showed the younger guys who's boss and won the hill climb event held at nearly 10,000 feet altitude.