Sports

What Happened to Lance Armstrong’s Arch-Nemesis Floyd Landis?

For years Lance Armstrong lied about doping. He even recently said he probably lied 10,000 times. In 2013, he finally confessed to Oprah Winfrey. It all started to unravel for Armstrong in 2010 when former American cycling teammate Floyd Landis admitted to his doping and included Armstrong and others. What happened to Floyd Landis?

Who is Floyd Landis?

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Floyd Landis’ story as a world-class cyclist is an improbable one. Raised in a Mennonite family, his father considered bike racing “useless.” To discourage his son from training, he gave him extra chores. Landis then began sneaking out at night to train. Eventually, his father came around and supported his son as he rose through the cycling ranks on the international scene.

In 2006, Landis reached the sport’s pinnacle winning the Tour de France. The thrill of victory didn’t last long. Landis tested positive for human growth hormone and was stripped of his title. He was banned from the sport for two years. 

Landis returned to racing domestically in 2009 and raced for a couple of years with different teams. In 2010, his career effectively ended when Landis admitted to doping from 2002 until the time he won the Tour in 2006. Landis didn’t stop there. He also charged numerous other riders did the same, including Lance Armstrong. 

Why does Armstrong still despise Landis?

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For years Lance Armstrong had denied any involvement with doping. When Floyd Landis publicly admitted his own guilt and included Armstrong and others, it was the beginning of the end for Armstrong and many other cyclists. 

Landis also filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong in 2010, where he alleged that Armstrong and team managers defrauded the U.S. government when they accepted money from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). After years of investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice joined the lawsuit in 2013 and planned to recoup $100 million from Armstrong. 

The suit was settled in April 2018 when Armstrong agreed to pay the U.S. government $5 million. Interestingly, Landis received $1.1 million of the settlement for his actions in filing the original claim. 

Where is Floyd Landis today?

In the documentary Lance, it’s evident Armstrong still views Landis with contempt. Landis, however, has no such feelings toward his former teammate. 

“I have some empathy for him because I went through some real public humiliation and it hurts,” Landis said in an interview on ESPN Radio this week. “You want to blame somebody, and sometimes it’s easier to find the most obvious thing or person and blame them. He can blame me. Maybe it would still be a secret if it wasn’t for me. I had to come clean. He’s obviously not happy about that. I hope he finds some peace in his life. I don’t have any further animosity towards him.”

Today, Landis runs a cannabidiol company in Colorado he launched in 2016. Of the $1.1 million payout he received from his whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong, he used almost half of it to pay back those who had supported him and sent money in his defense against doping allegations, and used the remaining portion to launch his own cycling team. The team folded in late 2019. 

Despite all the animosity directed at him by Armstrong, Landis said he still respects Armstrong, calling him “the best cyclist that I’ve ever raced with.”

“There’s a lot more to it than just one bad guy that got a bunch of other people to dope and was kind of mean. It’s complicated.”

Floyd Landis seems sincere about his feelings and moving on from the scandal that rocked the cycling world. At the very least, he’s taking the high road. Maybe, someday in the future, Armstrong will fall in line behind Landis and do the same. That day clearly isn’t today.