Floyd Landis has suggested that his decision to start a cycling team using the money he was awarded for initiating the whistleblower case against Lance Armstrong could give his former team-mate “some closure.”
Earlier this year, Armstrong agreed to pay $5m to the US government and former US Postal Service (USPS) team-mate Landis to settle a lawsuit that could have cost him $100m in damages.
Landis this week announced he would be using around $750,000 of the money to launch UCI Continental team Floyd’s of Leadville next year.
Speaking to Velo News, he explained: “I wanted to do something with the money. I always felt like there was the perspective out there – and some of it was Lance’s talking points from day one – that the whole purpose of coming clean was about money. And the only thing I could do was tell people it’s not.
“But they have this evidence. There’s this lawsuit, and everybody thought there was going to be, you know, a huge windfall and I was just going to go run off into the sunset.
“And number one, that’s not how I want to live my life anyway, and number two, it was not about that from the beginning.”
Landis says he currently only has a one-year plan for the team, but is hopeful he’ll find a way of keeping it going longer-term.
“I don’t have any over-the-top dreams of trying to turn it into some big grand thing, but if it works out that way, at the moment it’s more just a demonstration of … I know my part in cycling and here’s all I can do to try to settle it.”
He is however keen to emphasise that the team will be run by Gord Fraser of the Canadian team Silber Pro, which is being wound up at the end of this season.
“I’m not going to be out there telling these kids how to train and what to do,” he said. “I’d be happy to tell them how the decisions I made affected me in a negative way if that helps them make better decisions, that’s great, but I trust Gord to be more of a leader on the cycling side and the just general philosophical side of it.”
Speaking about how Armstrong might perceive the team, he said, “… if that money goes back into cycling, I don’t know, maybe it will give some closure to Lance as well.
“I’m sure he has personal feelings about me and that’s always going to stay that way, but at the end of the day, if this can bring some closure to that whole episode and actually benefits some young kids at the same time, then that’s some satisfaction.”
Speaker about the wider public response to the announcement, he added: “No one is ever going to completely take my side because of my history. I deserve to be scrutinized for that reason. But I think any press that has any understanding of cycling, and fans in general, would look at this as a good thing.”