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.”
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.