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Man stripped of 2006 Tour de France title avoids jail by promising to repay donors to his defence fund

Floyd Landis, the man who succeeded Lance Armstrong as Tour de France champion in 2006 only to be stripped of that title after failing a doping control, has struck a deal with federal prosecutors over allegations of fraud.

The news was revealed on the same day that it was confirmed that Armstrong, his former team leader at US Postal Service, is himself set to lose his seven Tour de France titles and faces a lifetime ban from sport.

Landis had denied doping, fighting the charges against him through an arbitration process with the help of more than $1 million raised from supporters via The Floyd Fairness Fund.

In May 2010, however, he publicly confessed to having taken drugs throughout his career, including during the 2006 Tour de France, leading to him being charged with having solicited those donations fraudulently.

ESPN reports that Landis will appear before a judge in San Diego, California, today to be arraigned on a count related to that charge but that under an agreement he has reached with the US Attorney’s Office, provided he can repay donors within three years, the charge will be dismissed.

Landis will not have to repay the full amount since some donors may choose to waive repayment – indeed he confirmed that several large donors had already indicated they would do so – but the agreement does depend on his being able to earn an income during the period.

According to ESPN, had Landis not reached agreement with prosecutors, he could have faced up to 20 years in jail, a $250,000 fine, and would still have been liable to repay his donors in full.

“I'm glad to have a concrete procedure for repayment in place," commented Landis.

"For me, taking the step of making restitution to the donors who were misled back then is one more step in righting the wrong choices I made and allows me to turn the page and to focus on what's next in life for me.

"I can never undo what happened, but to the extent that there are ways such as this that I can try to rectify things, I'll be more able to focus on the future and living an honest life after having done them."

The allegations Landis made of systemic doping at US Postal led to a Federal Grand Jury investigation being opened against Armstrong and other members of the team.

While that investigation was shelved earlier this year, USADA continued to pursue its own case against Armstrong, culminating in the announcement last night from the former cyclist that he had decided not to seek arbitration.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

10 comments

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Colin Peyresourde [1820 posts] 5 years ago
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I feel sorry for the guy. The humiliations keep being heaped on him.

I actually wish him the best. He's had to pay dearly for what he has done. I hope he can move on and live a happy life.

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PaulVWatts [111 posts] 5 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I feel sorry for the guy. The humiliations keep being heaped on him.

I actually wish him the best. He's had to pay dearly for what he has done. I hope he can move on and live a happy life.

ditto

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Tripod16 [165 posts] 5 years ago
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What a contrast between Landis and Armstrong. You feel Armstrong will be able to weather the storm, while maintaining a 'good' lifestyle, and poor Landis will stay, well, poor (financially).

A good book deal to come clean and name and shame every corrupt person linked to his drug use might help repay the individuals who funded his court battle (as well as paying for his current crop of lawyers).

A double-whammy of shame on cycling today!

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OldRidgeback [2826 posts] 5 years ago
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It is a mess and Landis has my sympathy. I do wonder how many of his competitors were doping at the time and suspect it was rather more than we have found out about.

While I don't like cheating I can't help feeling Landis has taken more than his fair share of blame and that otehrs are ducking below the parapet.

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Farky [183 posts] 5 years ago
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This isnt about did he or didnt he - everyoen else was doing it or any other doping rant.

The guy commited fraud in 'asking' for money to support his legal challenge to prove his innocence.....

Then he pleaded guilty all along!

Never mind the doping.

What he did was the lowest fo the low and he knows it and will spend a lifetime coming to terms with it, if he actually can.

For that, I feel sorry for him.

For gettin away lightly by only having to repay the donations back, i feel cheated again by a legal system that selectively dishes out punishment. Glad I dont live in the good ol US of A.

Shame on the US legal system yet again.

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gazzaputt [232 posts] 5 years ago
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Whoa whoa poor Landis????

FFS this guy set a fund to defend his honour knowing full well he'd cheated. He fraudulently took over $1m in donations.

He failed a dope test.

He's lucky he isn't serving jail time.

No comparison to the Armstrong saga.

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Rob Simmonds [251 posts] 5 years ago
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It's hard to feel too much sympathy for ol' Floyd. If he'd been offered a contract by Shack he'd have happily taken the money with no qualms.

Still, he did the right thing in the end (albeit with his back completely to the wall) and he's a salutary lesson to other dopers:- 'fess up and don't try and con everyone.

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onlyonediane [157 posts] 5 years ago
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At 1 dollar a week, frankly if he was run over, wouldn't shed a tear!

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pato779 [7 posts] 5 years ago
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It appears to me that the majority of the case against Armstrong is based on testimony from Landis and others like him - most of whom are proven cheats and liars. It amases me that the US legal sysyem can condemn a man on their say so and if they have positive proof that Lance doped during his reign of seven Tour titles then they should publish it, if not they should shut the hell up. For USADA to publicly announce they are going to strip him of his wins is bulls!!t as they do not have the jurisdiction to do so.

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ratherbeintobago [29 posts] 5 years ago
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Quote:

It appears to me that the majority of the case against Armstrong is based on testimony from Landis and others like him - most of whom are proven cheats and liars.

We don't actually know what their evidence is, but apparently it will all be made public once USADA have finished with the others involved in the case

{quote]if they have positive proof that Lance doped during his reign of seven Tour titles then they should publish it, if not they should shut the hell up.[/quote]

As above. Actually, whether LA himself doped isn't that key to USADA's case; the conspiracy to dope and to incite others to dope is actually more important. As such a positive test isn't really required. Nor did Millar, Rasmussen, Basso or Valverde test positive, but all served doping bans.

[quote}For USADA to publicly announce they are going to strip him of his wins is bulls!!t as they do not have the jurisdiction to do so.[/quote]

They do. A Texan court says so, and the UCI agree.

Andy