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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Landis briefly in the limelight

For the most part, Floyd Landis has been sitting back in the shadows of the Amgen Tour of California. Going into today's final stage, he's is 32nd place, 10 minutes and 26 seconds behind leader Levi Leipheimer.

While most eyes have been focused on Leipheimer and Astana teammate Lance Armstrong, who's in sixth place 1:46 behind and riding in a supporting role for Leipheimer, Landis briefly jumped into the limelight Saturday during a post-stage press conference.

The New York Times noted Landis is looking forward to the final stage Sunday, which includes an ascent of Mount Palomar, which had served as a training ride for him near his home in Temecula. The Times noted he answered some of his questions with "the sort of self-deprecating humor that added to Landis’s charm."

“I’ve never raced up it before,” Landis said. “My experience usually involves having a burrito at the bottom. I’m not going to be able to do that.”

Landis refused to answer questions about his past, which includes being stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title because of positive tests for banned substances. To read the full transcript of Landis' remarks, go to VeloNews.

Another American cyclist whose career was tainted by doping allegation, Tyler Hamilton, isn't faring well this race. Hamilton is in 95th place -- out of 97 riders -- and he's 49:25 behind Leipheimer. Hamilton has been riding in support of his Rock Racing team.

"I have a little bit different perspective on things," Hamilton told the Denver Post. "I'm just enjoying it, when before I didn't enjoy it as much. I'm 37 years old. I turn 38 in less than two weeks. Maybe this is my last Tour of California, so I'm going to enjoy it."

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