Floyd Landis announces retirement from cycling

2006 TDF champ stripped of title for doping believes sport "cannot be fixed"

by Simon_MacMichael   January 18, 2011  

Floyd Landis (copyright ColinEdwards99:Wikimedia Commons).jpg

Floyd Landis, who remains – for now, at least – the only winner of the Tour de France to have subsequently been stripped of his title for doping, has announced his retirement from cycling with immediate effect.

The American tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone after a storming ride to win Stage 16 of the race, although news of his positive test only broke after the conclusion of the Tour in Paris, where Landis stood on top of the Champs-Elysées podium in the maillot jaune.

Now, the 35-year-old who has struggled to find a job after finally confessing to his own past doping last May, when he also levelled allegations regarding systemic use of performance enhancing drugs by former team mate Lance Armstrong and other members of the US Postal Service team, has told ESPN.com that he has decided to retire from the sport.

Armstrong has consistently denied the allegations, and Landis himself has been criticised for his sudden confession after spending more than three years trying to clear his name, his legal battle partly funded by fans who believed – misguidedly, it turns out – in his innocence.

"I've spent five years trying to get back to a place that I can never really go back to, and it's causing more stress than is worth it," explained Landis, who spent his life savings on his defence and also saw his marriage end in divorce. "There must be more to life than this,” he added.

The former US Postal Service and Phonak Hearing Systems, who returned to the sport with the OUCH team for the 2009 season and rode some races last year as an unaffiliated rider, continued: "I've been riding my bike a lot, trying to figure out life, which is the same reason I did it to start with, so I've come full circle.

“I'll always ride my bike. But I'll never start on a line on a road and try to get to another line on a road faster than another guy. That's over."

Landis told ESPN that he had thought about giving up cycling on a number of occasions during the past few months,"but I just couldn't follow through with it."

Now, however, in a particularly symbolic gesture given his own history, Landis has informed Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, that he wishes to have his name removed from the list of athletes liable to be tested for drugs.

"I don't want it to come across that I'm quitting because I'm bitter," Landis added, although he revealed that he believed that it was now impossible to defeat the scourge of doping in cycling.

"I'm relatively sure this sport cannot be fixed, but that's not my job, that's not my fight," he concluded.

17 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

He's quitting cycling? I think he'll find cycling quit him long ago.

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
18th January 2011 - 11:02

1 Like

That boy needs help.

posted by renko [43 posts]
18th January 2011 - 11:16

1 Like

Oh...Landis, yes I remember him. Wish I didnt.


PzychotropicMac's picture

posted by PzychotropicMac [85 posts]
18th January 2011 - 12:20

1 Like

Finally got the message then. Unfortunately he now has more time to make unsubstantiated claims and line the pockets of career chasing lawyers.
Bye Floyd, don't let the door bang on your way out.

Done Nightrider 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Parkinson's UK. Next year Ride London

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [663 posts]
18th January 2011 - 12:32


As said the fella is seriously in need of help. If he doesn't get it I foresee another Pantani outcome down the road. I think he already has a drink problem, n'est pa?

But for his impact on cycling - good riddance. He has been nothing but a total and utter disgrace. Unlike David Millar who has at least been repentent and tried to do things to help the sport, all of Landis actions since his dope failure has been all about keeping himself in the public eye. I'm afraid his claims of wanting to help the sport clean up have been nothing but publicity for himself.

"Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out" is the phrase to use I believe. Yawn

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [495 posts]
18th January 2011 - 12:37


Could someone remind me where the (possibly alleged) funds for his defence donated by (probably) "former" fans actually went ? Devil

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [232 posts]
18th January 2011 - 12:46

1 Like

I actually feel sorry for Landis.

The battle that raged in him regarding admit or deny must have been huge with admit finally winning out and him coming clean. Given that he would have known what the backlash was going to be it took some amount of guts to stand up and say' I lied and denied but yes its true I took drugs.

Massive gob in the soup means he was never going to be allowed back in, which is a sad endictement of were the sport of cycling actually is.

Like so many thousands I was so angry with him at the time now however I do genuinely feel sorry for him and I hope he goes on to find some peace in his life.

David Millar is far from the angel he is portrayed as, he was caught kept his mouth shut served his ban and welcomed back.

demoff's picture

posted by demoff [344 posts]
18th January 2011 - 13:16

1 Like

What a shame. a shining light cruelly extinguished by the unrelenting pressure of honesty . I think his next move should be as a pantomime villain.

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
18th January 2011 - 13:22


The battle that raged in him regarding admit or deny must have been huge with admit finally winning out and him coming clean. Given that he would have known what the backlash was going to be it took some amount of guts to stand up and say' I lied and denied but yes its true I took drugs.

Or you could take the view that he realised he would get nothing by continuing to deny his guilt and decided to be poacher turned gamekeeper and hope he got the same response as Millar. He was sadly misinformed and his attempts to drag cycling into his personal mire have done him no favours.

As long as Landis was around cycling would continue to look dirty. Hopefully now he is going, expect a few more encores along the way, people can concentrate on the clean up. We've still got the revelations of Jeff Novitsky to look forward to and the decision on Contador, but having Landis bleating from the sidelines like some latter day Marley's ghost has managed to distract people from the real work that has been done and continues to be done.

Done Nightrider 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Parkinson's UK. Next year Ride London

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [663 posts]
18th January 2011 - 14:26


Sorry but didn't Millar admit his guilt within 24hrs of being arrested? Unlike Landis, Hamilton, Ricco, Virenque? Not saying he's an angel but has turned a negative into something useful and is to a degree seen to be doing something positive. Landis' attempt to "help" cycling was just muck throwing. The sooner he disappears altogether the better, though I do wish someone could and would take him under their wing and sorting him out. As I said previously I have a horrible feeling that if something isn't done we will have a repeat of the Pantani situation.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [495 posts]
18th January 2011 - 15:17


As things stand David Millar and Floyd Landis are equal, ie they got caught. The difference is that David Millar came clean about it at the time, whereas Floyd denied it then apparently has now admitted it (I wasn't aware of this before today).

I actually felt that Floyd Landis had been hard done by at the time, but now I wish he had just come clean about it.

There is drug taking in all sports (you'd be an idiot to think that there wasn't) however cycling is singled out by the press for it.

All we can hope for is that Floyd Landis learns from this and is a better person as a result.

As for David Millar, I'm sure him speaking up against drug taking probably rankles with other cyclists.

The main concern for the future isn't either of them it's those that continue to cheat and get away with it. I watch what I eat and drug testers can come round any time to test what I have taken.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [295 posts]
18th January 2011 - 17:20


you can say what you want ,but floyds tour win was awesome ,,,the breakaway spectacular ,and have we since have found out nearly all the big name riders of the armstrong era have been caught doping ,,the only thing floyd done wrong ,but its a big one ,is to set up a fund to prove is conviction for drugs was a lie when infact as he now states it is true ,,,at least he has come clean ,but the pressures must be huge and having not won the tour like all you people out there i cannot say for sure how i would react, start on the other riders still riding who have doped without any guilt ,,as far as im concerned when floyd won the tour it was an even playing field,,we need to ban riders for life or they will carry on taking the risks get a 2 year ban and come back again [ maybe even still doping] vino ,ricco ,valverde , petachi ,etc etc ,until the rules are fair and strict then we will keep seeing more cases ,,,and lets not forget contador ,and the question mark it puts on all is victories ,cycling has cleaned up its act for the face of the media but inside its no better than before ,,,to be honest the last tour was fantastic ,if contador gets found guilty i still watched a great race ,,,,,,

posted by rayjay [40 posts]
18th January 2011 - 17:35


I feel sorry for the guy in that he spent all his life savings (if that's true) trying to hold back the tide of truth. But he's a big boy, so it was his decision.
Like his denials, it was the wrong decision.

To those who say 2 years ban is not enough, it is worth noting that 2 years is a big chunk of time out of the short life of a pro cyclist; probably something like 10% of his total earnings throughout his career.
The amount of potentially lost money money in those 2yrs is significant.

I would agree that for a second guilty verdict it should be greater (life?) but 2yrs for the first offence seems about right to me.


posted by davebinks [136 posts]
18th January 2011 - 19:16


Good riddance, the sooner lance goes the same way the better.

posted by billyam998 [43 posts]
18th January 2011 - 20:33


Why feel sorry for someone who made more money from riding a bike in a year than most of us earn in a lifetime, and decided to cheat in order to gain glory ?

He was found out, and is no more deserving of pity than any other person who defrauds the public. I hope in the rest of his life, which given his young age should be a long alternative career, he makes an honest man of himself.

posted by roadrash [1 posts]
18th January 2011 - 21:51


Nobody likes a quitter but there is an exception to every rule.

posted by armstrong7 [26 posts]
18th January 2011 - 23:59


35 unemployed, bad CV, wonder how long it will take him to write a "sensational" book? No scratch that I don't really care and would not read it!
Wave Bye Bye Floyd!


Felix's picture

posted by Felix [112 posts]
19th January 2011 - 13:38