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Landis considers return to France

BACK after a two-year doping ban, Floyd Landis is trying to decide whether to follow fellow American Lance Armstrong's example and ride again in the Tour de France.

Landis, whose 2006 Tour title was taken from him after he failed a dope test, says he will decide soon whether to take aim at the 2010 Tour.

"I will take a few weeks of peace and quiet to assess what I want to do with the next years of my life, if it leads me to want to do the Tour de France again and all the chaos that surrounds a bicycle race," he said. "I would have to make a decision by the time this Tour de France came around.

"If I went back to the Tour de France the objective would be to win it again," Landis said. "And the objective would be for the resulting win to give me some time to enjoy it rather than the way it played out last time. I would like to win the race and go home and spend time with everybody that supported me and enjoy it rather than spending the next couple of years defending how I won it."

Deny wrongdoing

Landis, the first rider to be stripped of a Tour victory, has continually denied any wrongdoing and spent much of the last two years trying to prove his innocence.

A 10-day hearing in Malibu, California, and a five-day hearing in New York by the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected his assertion that his positive test for synthetic testosterone was due to procedural mistakes by the laboratory.

"I'm disappointed with the result, about the way it went, but I don't regret any decisions I made," Landis said.

He is, however, upbeat about his return to cycling last month, especially after undergoing a hip-resurfacing procedure that eliminated pain in his crumbling right hip that had plagued him since a training accident in 2002.

"It's like new and it doesn't have any limitation at all," said Landis, whose ban ended on January 30.

He thinks he is already close to reaching top form.

"It doesn't feel far at all. I would just need to know it was a goal. If I want the Tour de France, I would focus on spending a year on training on it. It doesn't feel out of reach for me."

Landis said he had been energized by his young OUCH teammates and by the reception he received from his home-state fans and rival riders at the Tour of California


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