Floyd Landis retires from professional cycling
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Floyd Landis retires from professional cycling

by VeloNation Press at 5:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
American rider says he believes sport ‘cannot be fixed’

Floyd LandisTwo months after finishing a respectable fourth overall in the Tour of Southland, US rider Floyd Landis has decided to call an immediate end to his racing career. The 35 year old rider has been unable to find a good team for a year, and any comeback plans were complicated when he admitted having doped during his career and implicated a number of others.

“I've spent five years trying to get back to a place that I can never really go back to, and it's causing more stress than is worth it. There must be more to life than this,” he told ESPN.

“I've been riding my bike a lot, trying to figure out life, which is the same reason I did it to start with, so I've come full circle. I'll always ride my bike. But I'll never start on a line on a road and try to get to another line on a road faster than another guy. That's over.”

Landis turned professional with the Mercury cycling team in 1999, and spent periods of time with the US Postal Service (2002-2004), Phonak (2005-2006) and Ouch (2009). During that time he won a number of big professional events, including Paris-Nice, the Tour of California and the Tour de France, but then tested positive in the latter and was disqualified.

He denied the charges, maintained his innocence during and after his two-year ban, but then dramatically confessed last May. He implicated others in either encouraging or participating in doping, including multiple Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and his directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel.

A federal investigation is currently underway and investigating these charges. Jeff Novitzky, who uncovered a huge doping network during the previous Balco scandal, is one of those digging into Landis’ claims, and has interviewed several of his former USPS team-mates.

In the meantime, Landis has been trying to return to competition with a good team. He told ESPN that retirement had been on his mind for several months, “but I just couldn't follow through with it.”

Other riders who have in the past spoken as openly about the problem, such as Jorg Jaksche, have also struggled to find teams.

Landis has requested USADA to remove him from the list of sportspeople in its anti-doping testing pool. Being part of this list is essential to being able to compete professionally, although a rider may return if he gives six months notice. This appears to be very unlikely in Landis’ case.

“I don't want it to come across that I'm quitting because I'm bitter,” he said. Apart from not being able to find a team, he expressed doubt about cycling’s ability to shake off doping problems. “I'm relatively sure this sport cannot be fixed, but that's not my job, that's not my fight.”

It is not yet known what Landis intends to do in terms of his career away from competitive cycling.


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