Floyd Landis returned to his mountain bike roots and saddled up for his first race since the Tour at the Teva Mountain Games this weekend. His 36th place finish time of 2:04:33 put him behind the top three women in the race.
Some of the coverage I’ve been reading is pretty negative on Floyd’s performance this weekend and I guess your perspective really depends on whether you think he’s guilty of doping or not. I honestly don’t know what to believe but the fact is that Floyd didn’t prepare for the race as he should have.
- Floyd admitted he hadn’t been on a mountain bike since October, a month after his hip replacement surgery. Maybe he was on his road bike in the meantime but it’s tough to train for a MTB race without getting on the trail.
- He didn’t even ride his own bike. In fact he had never ridden the bike he raced with and one reporter said the bike looked more like a freeride or DH bike than a cross-country rig. The reporter also said Floyd had to borrow a water bottle and cage just before the race began since he didn’t have one of his own.
- The race was held at Vail where altitudes start around 7,000 feet above sea level. Landis hadn’t done any altitude training and was apparently out of breath just walking around the starting area.
So yeah, Floyd didn’t have a good race and if you’re convinced he’s a doper, it serves him right and it’s sweet justice to see him suffer. On the other hand, if you think he’s not guilty of doping then this race is just another instance of Floyd getting the shaft. To the objective observer, however, the results point to a simple fact: you gotta prepare to win.