Zabriskie concerned for best friend Floyd

Tour favourite Floyd Landis's announcement on Monday that he faces a hip replace came as no shock to

Tour favourite Floyd Landis's announcement on Monday that he faces a hip replace came as no shock to

PIC BY TIM DE WAELE

David Zabriskie said today that there were tears in his eyes when Floyd Landis told him about the degenerative hip problem which could end the Phonak rider's career. Speaking at the CSC team hotel in Bordeaux, Zabriskie said that he was devastated when his best friend and flatmate broke the news in a telephone conversation last year.

"I cried a bit, because he's my best friend and I was really upset," Zabriskie recalled. "He just blurted it out: I think the pain had just become too much for him. Since then, I've been trying to look for information about [the condition], but there's not much I can say to Floyd that he doesn't already know. He's done a lot of research into it.

"I think Floyd thought that he could just ride through it," Zabriskie said of the condition which Landis developed after a fall in training in 2002. "He's a big believer in the body's ability to adapt, and he thought that's what would happen. That's why he kept it from people. It's also pretty difficult to go to teams and tell them that you have a problem like that."

Zabriskie stressed that, despite the threat to his career, the 30-year-old Landis "doesn't think that this will be his last shot at winning the Tour". Zabriskie is also confident that Landis can make a successful return from hip replacement surgery, but said that his compatriot is currently in a "lot of pain". "It hurts him when he rides, when he walks," the CSC ace explained.

"I think that it's getting worse every year. I know that he had nights last year when he hardly slept because of the pain. He hides it pretty well, but sometimes you see him squint and you know that it's hurting him. His hip just keeps dying. It's basically dead now."

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