Floyd Landis is set to return to North American pro cycling as a team owner.
Jason Gay of The Wall Street Journal reports that Landis, 43, is set to launch a Canadian UCI Continental team in 2019 alongside longtime racer and team director Gord Fraser. Fraser was most recently the sport director for Silber Pro Cycling. According to the Journal, Landis’s new team will be comprised of “some of the DNA” from Silber.
The team will be named the Floyd’s of Leadville Pro Cycling Team, taking its moniker from Landis’s Colorado-based cannabis business.
“I have a conflicted relationship with cycling, as everybody knows, but I still like it,” Landis told The Journal. “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.”
Landis said he is backing the team with the settlement cash he received from his recent whistleblower case against Lance Armstrong. In April Landis received a $2.75 million payout from Armstrong to settle the civil complaint case he launched in 2010. Approximately $1.65 million went to cover Landis’s legal fees for the case, and the remaining $1.1 million went to Landis.
After taxes and fees, Landis said he has $750,000 to back the team.
The cost for backing a UCI Continental team can vary widely, depending if the team pays salaries to its riders or not. In 2017 Team CCB operated a UCI Continental team for approximately $75,000. Other squads at that level have budgets that surpass half a million.
Landis said the new team represents “some closure” for him. Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after he recorded a positive test for testosterone. Landis was given a two-year suspension. He initially denied taking PEDs. In 2010 Landis came clean about his doping past, and his allegations prompted U.S. prosecutors and the United States Anti-doping Agency to pursue an investigation into Armstrong.
“I’m contrite about what happened, but you can never go back and change the decisions you made,” Landis said. “At the very least, people can see that I’m ready to move on.”
Landis said his desire to launch the team has nothing to do with his relationship with Armstrong. Armstrong is currently barred for life from having any official business in pro cycling by the U.S. anti-doping agency.
“Obviously, [Lance] is not a fan of mine,” Landis said. “[The team] doesn’t have anything to do with me trying to spite him or anything like that. It’s just for my own sake.”