By Shane Stokes
Although Floyd Landis must wait a few more weeks before he finds out if he will be able to race competitively in 2007 or not, it appears that his physical condition is fast returning after his hip replacement operation on September 17th.
The American rider is now back to regular training and one week ago, he and his personal physician Dr. Brent Kay took part in a Sunday group ride north of Los Angeles. "Over 60 miles, nearly four hours and 4500 feet of climbing - this was to be Floyd's longest, most difficult training ride yet," Kay wrote on www.floydlandis.com.
"Like a true professional, Floyd had a perfect 'day at the office.' The ride was beautiful, first heading southwest to the coast, winding down the Pacific Coast Highway before turning up the famous Yerba Buena Road. Yerba Buena is a very tough climb. It is almost eight miles of climbing at varied gradients. Decent pavement and scenic views are the reward as you climb. The descent that followed was another illustration of how confident Floyd is with his new hip. He literally flew down the mountain. If you didn't know it, you'd be hard-pressed to believe that Floyd was on crutches about a month ago."
Kay provided PowerTap data from the ride and it shows that Landis is quickly returning to decent physical condition. He averaged 250 watts for the 3 hours and 48 minutes ride, maintaining 380w on the Yerba Buena climb. His max wattage there was 500w.
"Floyd is now at the point where he has no physical limitations related to his hip," Kay continued. "Soft-tissue healing continues as the muscular strength in the area returns. He still has some work to do on his flexibility and range of motion and has specific drills for this, but most of his continuing rehab work will be on the bike. On the bike, his training hours will be going up. Looking ahead, there are many of his regular training routes that he will be working towards revisiting.
"It's been very cool to see Floyd get some bike time with the new hip. Not only because it symbolizes Floyd resuming his training but also because we have one of the greatest athletes in the world who now has addressed a physical issue that had been limiting his potential. With his new and improved hip we have yet to see the best performances from Floyd."
In early 2007 Landis faces a USADA hearing relating to his positive test for testosterone from this year's Tour de France. The outcome of that will determine whether or not he keeps his Tour title and is able to compete again next season. If Landis is found guilty, he faces a two year ban from the sport plus a further two year ban from competing with a ProTour team. He has the right to appeal any such decision to CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport).
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied