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July 9, 2006
No. 2 in Tour Confirms He Needs Hip Surgery
By SAMUEL ABT

CHATEÂUBOURG, France, July 9 — Second over all in the Tour de France and a strong favorite to win the race when it ends July 23, Floyd Landis confirmed today a report that he had been riding in severe pain for four years because of a degenerative condition in his right hip, which he has kept secret, and that he was planning to have hip replacement surgery.

"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," said Landis, the 30-year-old American leader of the Phonak team from Switzerland. His hip condition and his intention to have surgery were first reported in The New York Times Magazine in an article that will appear next Sunday's issue. The article now appears on The New York Times Web site.

Describing the pain, he said in an interview at his team hotel in Chateâubourg before the Tour's eighth stage, "It's bad, it's grinding, it's bone rubbing on bone.

"Sometimes it's a sharp pain," he continued. "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."

He said he intends to compete after he has the surgery.

He also confirmed that two years ago he had surgery, which he concealed from team doctors, to alleviate the condition, which is called avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis. "One or the other, they're both the same," Landis said after spelling them. The surgery left his right leg an inch shorter than his left.

The condition, he explained, is caused when "scar tissue closes the blood vessels in the hip and the ball on the hip collapses" so that the bone does not swivel.

He developed the condition after a crash during a training ride near his home in Southern California in October 2002. Landis said he was going public with the condition now because "I'm going to have to tell it at some point and everybody's here" at the Tour de France "so they might as well hear it now."

Phonak team officials, who were told by Landis about his condition early this year, plan to show his X-rays and discuss the condition on Monday in Bordeaux, where the race will have a day off.

The team totally supports him, said John Lelangue, its general manager, today.

"Floyd was honest enough to speak to me about this," he said. "It didn't change any of our plans. Since January the objective was and remains the Tour de France. His condition was not a problem to our objective," Lelangue said.

"We knew about the condition and that was important. I know we're talking about hip surgery, but if it's done well and planned for a good moment, I'm confident he will return to training normally and there won't be any problem next season."

Landis's contract with Phonak expires at the end of the year. The team will also change sponsors, with iShares, a financial services company, taking over. None of its officials were available for comment.

Discussing Landis's pain, Dr. Allen Lim, the rider's physiologist, said it was worse than Landis acknowledged.

"In the last Tour, he'd come out of the team bus and try to look good, but he'd tell me, 'I just want to vomit right now I'm in so much pain.' "

Landis added that he had taken a cortisone shot recently to alleviate the pain. "It doesn't work completely, but it makes it better," he said. The shot, ordinarily banned in the sport, has been permitted by racing authorities because of his condition.

"He's not the type to whine," said Dave Zabriskie, an American rider for the CSC team and Landis's roommate in Girona, Spain.

In an interview this morning, Zabriskie added: "This condition could be having a good affect on his career because he knows his time might be limited, so he's going for it. He's on a rampage."

Landis finished second in a long time trial Saturday and trails the race leader, Serhly Honchar, by one minute. Today, he finished in the main pack on the stage to Lorient in Brittany. This season he has won the Tour of California, Paris-Nice and the Tour de Georgia, all multiday races.

The hip replacement surgery, he explained, might be done as early as this autumn.

"I know that it's getting worse," he said. "It's a slow process. Cycling doesn't increase the speed of the process. But if it hurts too much, something needs to be replaced.

"It's unlikely that it will fail catastrophically because it's a slow process, but it's getting bad.

"I've got to do some research to find out what the odds are that surgery will work. Maybe I'll deal with it at the end of the year."

If he does have surgery soon, Dr. Lim said: "He will come back and be much, much stronger than he is now. People haven't seen more than 80 percent of Floyd."
 

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Incredible. I am skeptical that he can return to his former level after total hip replacement, but since I'm facing it myself, I'll be rooting for him.
 

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harlond said:
Incredible. I am skeptical that he can return to his former level after total hip replacement, but since I'm facing it myself, I'll be rooting for him.

It seems hard to believe he can come back strong but he's young, a great athlete and in the best sport for such a situation next to swimming.
 

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harlond said:
Incredible. I am skeptical that he can return to his former level after total hip replacement, but since I'm facing it myself, I'll be rooting for him.
FWIW, I've got a friend who is in his early 40s and has always been a fairly good athlete. He ended up with the same condition as Floyd due to breaking his femur a number of years ago. He was riding in pain, walking with a slight limp and was completely out of balance from a muscular perspective. Anyway, he had a hip replacement, did his PT religously and is now waaay stronger on the bike than he used to be.
 

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rocco said:
It seems hard to believe he can come back strong but he's young, a great athlete and in the best sport for such a situation next to swimming.
I remember wondering if it was just his antics that made him sit on the podium in Paris-Nice. I wonder if this is why. Damn. I hope that his surgery goes as well as possible and that he can remain a contender next year, and for many years after that.
 

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NYCyclist said:
Will appear in next Sunday's Times, available now online, login may be required. Pretty good article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/sports/othersports/09landis-magazine.html
from the article:
...in almost every situation in his life, Landis is slow. He walks with a limp. He sits as often as possible and cannot cross his right leg over his left. He takes elevators instead of stairs, valet-parks at the shopping mall and sometimes has difficulty sleeping. Running is out of the question. Like many of the 216,000 Americans who will receive hip replacements this year, his life is defined by chronic, debilitating pain."

Amazing! :shocked:
Great article! My respect for Floyd was already high, but now it's gone up like thousand percent. It also explains why he's adopted such an unorthodox position in the time trial.....so not only did he have to deal with a last minute UCI ruling and equipment failure in yesterday's TT, he was also forced to adapt his position to one that was most likely more painful for him....and he still only finished a minute down!
Floyd rocks!
 

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Landis

My dad had both hips replaced at 55 years of age, he was walking the same day as the surgery, and was back in the woods logging in about 4 months. The same Doctor that did his surgeries did a hip replacement earlier in the year on a D1 college basketball player, and the kid played in the final 4 of the NCAA tournament that year. It is an amazing surgery, and I dont see any reason why he shouldnt be able to come back 100%.
 

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rocco said:
The question remains whether the UCI will approve his artificial hip for competition... :)
They will initially, but then they will make him remove it 1.5 hours before the start of the ITT. :D
 

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Wonder why they chose to announce this now, right in the middle of the Tour? Is it because he doesn't think he will finish? Or is it to elevate him to Lance or Tyler like level since we now know that he is suffering more than the others, and may still win?
 

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ajoc_prez said:
Wonder why they chose to announce this now, right in the middle of the Tour? Is it because he doesn't think he will finish? Or is it to elevate him to Lance or Tyler like level since we now know that he is suffering more than the others, and may still win?
I think with the stress and high visibility of the tour he's just having a harder time hiding his condition off the bike. The Times article mentioned that he walks with a limp and has to sit and rest quite often. It wouldn't take too long before the press started noticing and began speculating and digging around. I'm sure Floyd wanted to break the story himself rather than wake up one morning to an expose in Le Monde about his "hidden conditon" and "deliberate subterfuge".
 

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well

I think we need to be careful with the "i know a guy who had that surgery and he's fine" theories. Everyone is different and from everything i have heard, this is not your "typical" hip replacement surgery. I would be surprised to see him come back "pro" after the surgery-------let's just pray he does his best now so that if it is the end of his career, he can know he left it all out there and have no regrets!

Good luck and Godspeed :thumbsup:
 

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Mocat4 said:
I think with the stress and high visibility of the tour he's just having a harder time hiding his condition off the bike. The Times article mentioned that he walks with a limp and has to sit and rest quite often. It wouldn't take too long before the press started noticing and began speculating and digging around. I'm sure Floyd wanted to break the story himself rather than wake up one morning to an expose in Le Monde about his "hidden conditon" and "deliberate subterfuge".
Or if someone in the press got news of the cortisone shots. It is a banned substance even though the UCI allowed it for him because of his condition. It just seems like strange timing. Maybe that Times story was not supposed to come out until after the tour.

I just remember they would not let Jonathan Vaughters after take a cortisone shot after his wasp sting.



They would not let him take a shot for an alergic reaction and he had to withdraw. I am glad they are letting Floyd compete and all, but they need to get a clue sometimes.
 

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mtbykr said:
I think we need to be careful with the "i know a guy who had that surgery and he's fine" theories. Everyone is different and from everything i have heard, this is not your "typical" hip replacement surgery. I would be surprised to see him come back "pro" after the surgery-------let's just pray he does his best now so that if it is the end of his career, he can know he left it all out there and have no regrets!

Good luck and Godspeed :thumbsup:
Why not? He should be better off once the bad hip is out and the new one is in. The only setback he will suffer is from the downtime recovering from the surgery which if he has it in August might not even affect next season. I would think the only thing stopping him from returning to his previous level would be some unusual complication from the surgery.
 

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Alpedhuez55 said:
They would not let him take a shot for an alergic reaction and he had to withdraw. I am glad they are letting Floyd compete and all, but they need to get a clue sometimes.
I think there are a couple of issues. One Floyd's injection may have been a relatively small amount targetting the joint, Vaughters may have required a relatively large injection to achieve a systemic affect. Two, Floyd didn't get his while racing. The performance enhancing affects of corticosteroids are presumably fairly short term since the method of doping with them is typically to take a large injection the morning of a race.
 
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