In a year of drama, Landis enjoys a day of mellow

Posted: June 30, 2007

Smiling and appearing relaxed, Floyd Landis did not look like a man who has been steeped in controversy for nearly a year.

Landis, the 2006 Tour de France champion, yesterday appeared at the opening of a supermarket in Harleysville, Upper Salford Township, and was there to also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Univest Grand Prix bike race, to be held Sept. 8-9 in Souderton.

After a brief question-and-answer session with the media, he hopped on his bike and took a leisurely ride with about 90 amateur cyclists.

Landis is awaiting the decision of a three-person arbitration board formed to determine the authenticity of the doping case against him. After Stage 17 of last year's Tour, he tested positive for higher-than-allowable levels of testosterone.

"I don't really know what's going on in the mind of the arbitrators or what the decision will be," Landis said.

Landis, who grew up in Lancaster County, could become the first cyclist in the 104-year history of the Tour de France to be stripped of his title.

"I'm prepared for anything at this point," the 31-year-old said. "I don't know what they'll write in their findings. Who knows what they'll do in the end."

Added drama in last month's nine-day hearing came when three-time Tour champion Greg LeMond revealed that he had been sexually abused as a child and claimed the Landis camp, in particular manager Will Geoghegan, tried to use it as blackmail to keep him from testifying.

"I don't know Greg LeMond apart from the two times that I spoke to him on the phone," Landis said. "I guess it was his intention to testify against me. Whatever he's going through [in his personal life], I hope he gets help."

John Eustice, a former pro cyclist and current ESPN analyst, was on hand yesterday and rode alongside Landis. He said Landis' testosterone test could be a false positive.

"There's a lot of people of great importance in their scientific and legal fields that support his innocence," Eustice said.

Eustice, 51, was asked what impact all the doping allegations have had on his beloved sport.

"The cycling world is taking a lot of hits today," he said. "But it is the one professional sport that is trying to clean itself up.

"If nothing else, the [doping] issue is ambiguous and deserves a closer look. Floyd's biggest wish is to shed light on the issue. He's acting in an honorable way."


Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien

at 610-313-8019 or robrien@phillynews.com.

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