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Commentary: Floyd vs. Lance heads to Colorado’s HIGH country

America's two ex-Tour de France champions will operate on either side of a mountain range.

Imagine for a moment that you are Lance Armstrong.

To escape media lowlifes and other trolls, you buy a multi-million dollar house in Aspen, one of the world’s most exclusive rich-guy enclaves. When your reputation crumbles under USADA’s iron boot, you retreat to your mountain hideaway, knowing that your billionaire neighbors won’t give you crap when they see you at the local wine bar.

But oh, no… look who just moved to the neighboring town. It’s Floyd!

According to a recent press release, Kid Rock super fan Floyd Landis is just days away from opening a legal marijuana business in Leadville, which is located on the other side of Independence Pass from Aspen. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Colorado mountain towns, Aspen is to Brentwood as Leadville is to, well, Bakersfield. In Aspen, the preferred mode of transport is the Range Rover. In Leadville, it’s the pack burro.

But in the summer months, the road to tony Aspen goes right through gritty Leadville.

In terms of weird sports stories, this one is definitely the strangest of the week. America’s two ex-Tour de France champions will operate on either side of a mountain range.

One could write multiple books about Lance and Floyd’s complex relationship, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll reduce it down to a handful of snapshots. Stage 17, 2004 Tour de France, Floyd pulls Lance to victory. Stage 5, 2005 Tour de Georgia, Lance gloats on Brasstown Bald. Tour de France, 2005, Lance and Floyd shout at each other. Tour de France 2006, Floyd goes positive. April 2010, Floyd confesses to USA Cycling and implicates Lance. August 2012, Floyd gives USADA an affidavit. October, 2012, USADA’s reasoned decision. January 2013, Floyd launches his whistleblower lawsuit.

Landis poses in front of his business' new sign. courtesy of Floyd's of Leadville.
Landis poses in front of his business’ new sign. courtesy of Floyd’s of Leadville.

There are plenty of other important milestones from the Lance/Floyd history book, but I’m trying to keep this column short.

Floyd calls his business “Floyd’s of Leadville,” and he will apparently produce cannabis-infused products under the brand name, which he will sell at selected retailers across the state. He will source his marijuana from high-altitude growers. Floyd celebrated his new business with several pointed tweets.

For those of you who aren’t privy to the ins and outs of legal marijuana, here’s a quick explainer. In Colorado, cannabis-infused products are a growing segment of the state’s legal marijuana industry. Manufacturers use a CO2-based extraction method to strip Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from the marijuana plant. The THC-dense solution is then baked into food, sold as a wax, or synthesized into oil for handheld vaporizers. I know, it’s a strange new world.

Floyd has had a few start-and-stop businesses since he became America’s most famous PED whistleblower. In 2013 he launched a one-and-done Gran Fondo event in upstate New York. There were rumors that he wanted to drive NASCAR.

Since 2014, however, his name has only entered the press alongside his ongoing whistleblower case against Armstrong, which seeks to reclaim $100 million.

In the release, Landis said his new company is the producer of “premium products,” as well as a supporter of alternatives to addictive painkillers.

“I am really excited about this new phase of my life,” Landis said. “The cannabis industry is growing fast and I am fortunate to have this opportunity to play a role.”

Many cycling fans will never forgive Floyd for his doping, his coverup, or his bad, bad book, Positively False: The Real Story of How I won the Tour de France (get your copy now for just 1 cent!). There are others (myself included) who, after several years of soul-searching, have found a way to nudge Floyd onto the positive side of the good guy/bad guy divide. Had Floyd not come forward in 2010, would we know half of what we now know about cycling’s drug-fueled aughts? If Floyd never confessed, would fans, sponsors, and (gulp) magazines still be praying to the altar of Lance? We’ll never know.

Which brings us back to the weird geographic relationship.

So again, let’s say you’re Lance Armstrong. You just flew in to Denver, and you’re driving up to Aspen to spend your summer mountain biking, fly fishing, and sipping buttery chardonnay with venture capital bros. You used to take the private jet, but alas, times are tough.

As you drive through Leadville, you see the sign for Floyd’s legal weed company. Do you stop and ask for a free sample?