Statement by Floyd Landis 18 September 2010

As you may know, subsequent to winning the 2006 Tour de France, I failed a drug test and was ultimately disqualified and suspended from professional competition for 2 years.

During and following that suspension, I had a fair degree of time to reflect on the decisions made by and for me related to my activities as a professional bicycle racer, including, specifically, the use of banned performance enhancing drugs. The conclusions reached and the learning taken away by me during that time* are now moving me to correct, to the extent possible, the effect of those decisions on others and on and to speak out in a manner so that today’s young and future professional and amateur athletes can learn from my choices and, hopefully, avoid the same painful consequences which I have suffered and which I continue to suffer today.

In other words, like Deakin University, I too want to be a catalyst for positive change.

Effective partnerships often present themselves in unusual forms and at unusual times. My knowledge of and participation in professional cycling’s culture of dope and my participation in a conference intended to chart a new direction for cycling may seem inconsistent and inappropriate to some, including especially those that seek to maintain the status quo or otherwise cover up the extent of the doping problem and the resulting corruption under which the sport currently labors. That said, my knowledge and participation in the culture that the conference is seeking to improve, and my work with the conference organizers in that regard, is exactly the type of partnership that can and will deliver effective, progressive, relevant analysis that can be used to begin the process of repairing the currently broken sport of cycling and its governing institutions.

My intention in participating in the conference is simple. By offering an inside perspective of an athlete confronted with decisions regarding the use of banned performance enhancing drugs, I hope to be able to contribute to a better understanding of how those decisions come to be made, and how athletes can be better supported by those in a position to facilitate better decisions and decision making, including owners, sponsors, doctors, directors, riders and fans.

I have always loved racing my bicycle. For me, racing as a professional was a dream come true and it represented the culmination of years of very hard, very painful, dedicated work.

Having felt those dreams collapse, having experienced the result of my work publicly evaporate and having subjected the sport I love to unnecessary criticism, I now must be of service and do what I can to help others avoid a similar fate. And it was with that intention, not one of scandal and attack as has been suggested by my critics, that I accepted Mr. Hardie’s invitation to participate in the conference.

To be clear, I do not wish to use the conference as a “soapbox,” nor do I wish “hijack” the world championships. I will not and cannot discuss events or circumstances related to the ongoing investigations and lawsuits involving Lance Armstrong and certain of his current and former business associates and teammates, including what I saw and heard during the relevant time periods . Indeed, the behavior and comments of the persons and organizations that seek to shut down the conference as a consequence of my participation demonstrate that they are interested only in selfishly perpetuating their own positions and purported authority at the expense of progressive reform and in total disregard of the sport’s long-term interests, including those of the riders and fans, which they are charged to protect.

Floyd Landis

* I hope you can appreciate my effort here to footnote some of those conclusions and learning which provide important context to the discussions concerning my disclosures and their purpose, but which are not necessarily relevant to the purpose of this statement. The most important of these conclusions and learning are not cycling specific and appear to me now as common sense solutions to living at peace with oneself and the world; solutions to which I was blinded by a desire to win in a sport that all but requires its participants at the highest levels to disregard the rules in order to effectively compete.

Attempting to create and sustain a truth that does not square precisely with one’s reality will always ultimately fail. The energy and efforts expended in that attempt are wasted and can never be recovered or recycled into more productive or fruitful personal or social endeavors. The emptiness and unease that results from such a waste create a rattle within that can only be quieted by ongoing efforts to live in integrity and truth, and one cannot permit their past mistakes and indiscretions to forever commit them to travel a road on which they are no longer comfortable. I’ve traveled that troubled road and the consequent pain remains fresh with me. Integrity and truth cannot be nuanced or partial. Truth is nothing if it is not complete, and the story of my life cannot truthfully be told if facts important to it are omitted such that the story continues to mislead. My decision to disclose the regular use of banned doping products by me and by others with whom I have been associated is simply part of my process to square all the realities of my life and to make amends to those other than myself that have also suffered as a consequence of my poor choices.

Attempts by others to make that process into something other than I have described above, and to discredit my current efforts by pointing to my past mistakes (which I have acknowledged), simply represent their continuing, misplaced, misguided and fear-driven efforts to temporarily sustain a manufactured truth that does not square with reality of their life.

Add comment

Comments

  1. Imran September 18, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Good job Floyd. But I believed you 100 percent only to find out after havind your case that you lied. That is what worries me most. When do I start believing you? I appreciate Dr. Hardie’s hard work in cycling and his invitation of Floyd to help clean the sport.

    • thomas September 21, 2010 at 9:08 pm

      I respect your opinion Imran, however, oddly enough mine is the complete opposite of yours. I never believed a word Mr. Landis said – before he came clean. Hence, I am now partial to start believing his recent claims. These also coincide much better with my general impression, facts and circumstantial evidence (official or not) surrounding the cycling sport.

  2. Cracks September 18, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    There’s a time and place for everything Floyd.
    Any genuine plight to help the sport is noble.
    The Geelong Worlds is neither the time nor place.
    A soapbox will be made of your presence whether you like it not; you know the media better than most.

    As for the fans, well we just want to watch the race hey.
    http://twitter.com/miketomalaris/status/24732227901

  3. john wesley harding September 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Surely anybody who wishes to see and contribute to the long term health of professional cycling would want to hear from Mr Landis. Other riders including Christophe Bassons and Filippo Simeoni have been bullied and pressured when speaking out against the drug culture within the sport. For Mr Landis to receive the same treatment when he has agreed to speak at a respected institution such as Deakin University would be a disgrace.

  4. GW September 18, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I kind of feel sorry for Floyd and applaud what he believes he is trying to do. However, I don’t think he does himself any favours. Working hard to clean up a largely discredited sport is admirable, but I can’t help feeling that some of his motivation is to rewrite the history books and attempt to ensure that he is remembered as a shining knight of truth and justice rather than a cheat. Floyd should save his comments for the investigating commission rather than seeking out opportunities to publicly launder his washing.

  5. joepappillon September 19, 2010 at 2:38 am

    I fully support Floyd Landis’ efforts to effect positive change in the sport of cycling and I find those arguing against his participation in the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference to be disingenuous and extremely self-interested.

    As Floyd himself points out, “the behavior and comments of the persons and organizations that seek to shut down the conference as a consequence of my participation demonstrate that they are interested only in selfishly perpetuating their own positions and purported authority at the expense of progressive reform and in total disregard of the sport’s long-term interests, including those of the riders and fans, which they are charged to protect.”

    I can’t think of any better way to say it.

    Yes, it’s uncomfortable to be reminded of the culpability that we all face as a result of having unquestioningly allowed cycling to devolve into a drug-addled netherworld during the past decade. And repairing the damage was always going to be uncomfortable and would always require each of us as individuals to examine our roles in having uncritically accepted what we can now clearly see was myth, but what we then considered to be god’s truth and fact.

  6. Brian Thewell September 19, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Floyd Landis is a doper and always will be. he should seriously damage the credibility of your efforts so go ahead welcome him and watch the cycling world ignore you all. With Austalia’s strict immigration controls it seems amazing he can even get into the counry at all?

    Flyd Landis wont help us rid cycling of dopers, he will hinder at as how can anyone believe a word he says.

  7. Thebrainmaker September 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

    You have to applaud Floyd. My god. When he tested positive you have to remember what an admission of guilt would have brought. He would have not to only admit his own guilt but enviably the questions would have come about Armstrong and USPS. Yes he was protecting himself but he was also protecting the franchise. He tried the omerta and to the protect the sport. He stood by Armstrong and shut up just like he was told – and where did it get him? – in a great big hole. We need to give him some credit here. Its takes amazing strength not only to admit your own guilt but to tell the world the biggest name in cycling is a fraud. We’ll look back in 10 years time and thank Floyd. I wonder how many of us have made mistakes or protected others to later apologise or try to correct the story. I reckon a few of us would be too weak to do so. Lets look in a mirror before we start throwing stones. I look forward to Floyd being in Australia. Take pride Australia. Better your seen as the open minded country that we really believe that you are.

  8. martin September 19, 2010 at 10:00 am

    thanks everyone for you comments. we are getting overwhelming support from people publicly and privately. Keepstrong.

  9. Looktoward the future September 20, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Floyd, please stay away, you will not add to any benefit as you have already proved yourself to be a devious individual. Will you be refunding your fans for the 1 million $ plus in funds they gave to your(lawyers)now corrupt defence? I bet the lawyers already knew the truth but defended you anyway because that is their job. Perhaps the IRS will look into this and charge you with 1 million $ in income. You WERE my favorite. Now you want to benefit from a whistleblowers lawsuit(30%?)which I think is your new career path and motivation. I think trying to uncover drug use of 10-15 years ago is a total waste of time – look toward the future and prevent future drug use.

  10. wasfastrider September 20, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Floyd, wow, very well said! I need your pencil. My opinion of you has been just one many riders that i had no sympathy for that got busted when they thought they never would and weren’t able to accept the consequences. But, if what you say is true, your head is screwed on straight, which is more than can be said for most.

    In any event, I admire your courage in the face of the Armstrong army and its thugs.

    Hang tough, because its looking like you may become the nominee to carry this message back to the riders.

    Everyone makes mistakes, big mistakes, during their life. Only the strong are able to acknowledge them and work through them for the better. You seem to be one of the strong ones. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say next week.

  11. bjorn September 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    well, for starters your credibilty is long lost- but your presence at the Worlds will not falter the sport of cycling-you are the face of cycling today both good and bad, and everyone should recognize just that-hopefully we will learn form it. I hope one day you will write a book and honestly recount the days of pedaling. Then it is up to each and everyone of us that love cycling to believe it or not, but mostly stand to fight for a clean and hard sport on two wheels.
    ps Armstrong will always be the biggest star after Merckx-era.
    cheers b

  12. Bernie September 21, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Truth? Really? Why don’t you quit flying around the world and start spending your money paying back the honest people that you stole from? That would be living your life with integrity. Unitl you pay back every single person you stole from, your life will never be anything more than a “manufactured truth.” You should be ashamed of yourself, you are an embarrassment to cycling.

  13. Justaz September 21, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Floyd. Get a job. Stop stealing the money and the show. If you want to do good, then do it for free. Pay your debt on your own dime. You don’t get to cash in on cycling anymore. Sure, go ahead and talk, but for God’s sake man, do it for free and for the right reasons.

    I don’t believe you anyway. Why should I? You went too far. I am not saying you cannot be forgiven, but you gotta pay your own debt man. Stop leaching and consider working a little more on how and where you present your message.

    And by the way, it is really difficult to see beyond your “sour grapes” approach to “coming clean.” Again, take a deep breath and think about how and where you present your message.

  14. tripon September 21, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Isnt floyd simply the wrong person for this Crusade?

  15. Justin Winterbottom September 21, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I think there is no point in a continued, frenzied attack on Floyd – there are plenty of other riders out there in much the same position. Look at David Millar, do folks still rant on about him as being “once a doper, always doper?”. No, they don’t. Floyd made a mistake, quite a few probably, but everyone deserves to be given a chance. I won’t deny that I was very, very annoyed when Floyd admitted he had lied, because after all I had bought his book and had always given him the benefit of doubt. On reflection, he should have followed David Millar’s example and come clean immediately. For all we know he might then have returned to racing at the end of his ban and be almost rehabilitated as an example to all. But of course, we all have to make choices in the here and now, so what now with hindsight seems obvious, may not have been so back in 2006. So, two suggestions for everyone: 1. Start acting like grown ups, it’s just a sport. If you cheat, you get caught and you pay your dues and you move on. There are far, far worse things going on in the world that should focussed on instead – so lighten up on Floyd. 2. Floyd, I have no issues with what you are doing, I think it’s a lot more useful than ridiculous campaigns such as asking everyone to wear transparent wristbands to support drug free sport (what, exactly, does or did that achieve?), but have you ever come out and apologised to everyone who did believe in you, who bought your book or contributed to your fund? If you have, direct me to it and my own apologies in advance. If you haven’t, well maybe things have been a hectic over the past few months – and if so get out there and take a few minutes to say sorry to all us weekend warriors, who will no doubt then welcome you back wholeheartedly into the cycling fraternity. Kind regards, J