Floyd Landis, the Mennonite-turned-bicycle racer, was stripped of his Tour de France yellow jersey when a three-person arbitration panel upheld a positive test result that quickly cast a shadow over his comeback win in 2006.

Landis (right) has another appeal opportunity but he's clearly fighting an uphill battle, and he has said to continue the battle would drain him financially. The findings yesterday also ban him from racing until January 2009.

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In today's Sun, sports reporter Childs Walker does an excellent job reviewing the Landis case and placing it in the context of all the recent sports cheating scandals -- football coach Bill Belichick, NBA ref Tim Donaghy, baseball's performance-enhancing substances.

My connection with the Landis story was brief but it left an impression. Just as he was closing in on his victory in France when all the world was enthralled by his miraculous comeback victory, I was dispatched to Farmersville in Lancaster County, Pa., to find his parents. I caught up with Arlene and Paul Landis, who are Mennonites, at a modest picnic in a neighbor's backyard. They were very sweet, gracious people -- certainly proud as parents but not wildly celebratory. That was a reflection of their religion, where God is held as the focus rather than man's accomplishments. They saw in their son's triumph some greater divine purpose.

"The Lord's will is being worked out," Paul Landis told me, "and I think it'll blossom from here."

The words ring sadly now.

If you read Floyd Landis' comments, he sounds so earnest in declaring his innocence, even right up to this moment. I never met Floyd Landis, the bicycle racer. But I met his parents. Sometimes that tells you even more about a person. And from my brief encounter with those good folks in Farmersville, Pa., I am even more perplexed by what's happened.

Photo credit:  Associated Press

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