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Thursday, February 12, 2009
Landis crashes in training run

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Floyd Landis still plans to ride in the Tour of California after crashing his bike during a training run Thursday.

The former Tour de France champion is headed into his first race back from a two-year doping ban. Landis' crash was announced by Tour of California officials moments before he was due to appear at a news conference promoting the race, which begins with a prologue Saturday in downtown Sacramento.

A tour spokesman said Landis was "bruised up pretty good" but will still compete in the race. Landis crashed in the mid-afternoon, but the tour gave no further details.

Landis, who won the inaugural Tour of California in 2006, won the Tour de France later that year but was stripped of cycling's most prestigious title after testing positive for synthetic testosterone. He spent most of the past two years and most of his personal savings attempting to clear his name in various courts.

He still contends the sport's testing system is flawed, but his ban expired Jan. 30, and the 33-year-old moved quickly to get back into competition.

Levi Leipheimer, the two-time defending Tour of California champion, is the only other person to win the race. He didn't know about Landis' crash until hearing about it in a news conference.

"He's a tough guy," Leipheimer immediately said. "It won't affect him."

Landis is riding for the OUCH Pro Cycling Team, which is sponsored by Landis' doctor.

The 4-year-old race covers 750 miles in nine days, beginning in Northern California and finishing near San Diego. This year's field is the tour's most impressive to date, highlighted by Lance Armstrong's appearance in his first American race since beginning his comeback.