Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France win for doping and later provided testimony that helped bring down his former team mate Lance Armstrong, is launching his own cycling team.
Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal reports that Landis will be using around $750,000 of the money he was awarded for initiating the whistleblower case against Armstrong to set up the team.
Armstrong settled the case, which was based on the alleged use of federal funds in the shape of sponsorship of his former US Postal Service team to finance its doping programme, for $5 million in April this year.
The UCI Continental team will start racing next year, and will be run by Gord Fraser of the Canadian team Silber Pro, which is being wound up at the end of this season. The new team will also be registered in Canada.
Landis said: “I have a conflicted relationship with cycling, as everybody knows, but I still like it and I still remember what it was like to be a kid, and race on a domestic team. It was some of the best years of my life.”
Speaking of his past, he said: “I’m contrite about what happened, but you can never go back and change the decisions you made. At the very least, people can see that I’m ready to move on.
“Maybe it sounds odd, but it’s kind of some closure for me.”
The team, which will be sponsored by the Floyd’s of Leadville legal hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) business, is aimed at bringing on young riders.
.Fraser, who rode alongside Landis at the Mercury team from 1999 to 2001, said: “Floyd’s passionate about cycling. I’d agree he’s had his ups and downs, but hopefully with this new step, he’s going to find the reason why he started racing.”
Landis is aware that his moving back into the sport, albeit in a largely hands-off role, won’t be universally popular.
“They can put me in the same bracket as everyone else they want to go away, but at the end of the day, rather than yelling and screaming on the internet about how I should go away, they could go out and find some other sponsors to help them promote the sport,” he maintained.
“Those people are going to continue to talk like that, and that’s just who they are.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.