Rahsaan Bahati has labelled Floyd Landis’s time with the Bahati Foundation team as a failure but stressed that he will offer support to Landis should he need it in the future.
The team and Landis recently parted company after Landis produced a set of stinging allegations centred around drug abuse and sporting corruption during his time with US Postal and Phonak.
“Ultimately it was a failure,” Bahati said of Landis’s time with the team. “We accepted him with open arms. Of course you knew he had baggage but at the time it looked like that was over with. If we had known he was going to come out with that information of course we would not have signed him.”
Landis had been brought into the team in March this year with the dual role of ambassador for the sport and rider. However the position with the team became untenable after several letters between Landis and some of the sport’s governing figures were leaked. Despite many people within the sport being aware that letters were circulating, most, Bahati included, were not aware of the seriousness of their contents.
“I knew what was going on but not to that magnitude. I knew that Floyd wanted to come clean, better himself and get that burden off him. I didn’t know he was going to name names.”
“After that the team was affected. People say that any press is good press but that definitely wasn’t the case here. I understood what it’s like to bite your tongue and it feels weird. I told him that I understood and that he’d feel a lot better when he’d done it but I didn’t think that throwing everyone else under the bus was the smartest move.”
With Landis and his OUCH Medical Center backer both separating from Bahati, the team have been forced to restructure under a new management in a bid to raise revenues and ultimately continue in the sport.
“We have to raise money now to make sure the team continues. This has really made things tough to keep moving forward. The team is reshuffling. We were hit with a big hurdle and we’re looking to overcome that now.”
Despite the upheaval and the fact that Bahati and Landis have not spoken in two weeks, Bahati still appears to hold Landis in some regard.
“I like him. He’s a guy who is hard not to like and hopefully this will turn his life around for the better. I’m not going to abandon the guy and if he needs my help or to talk to me I’m here for him. Everyone deserves a second or third chance in life so I would never disown the guy but we had to cut ties in order to make sure that this foundation stays on track.”
Asked if he believed in Landis’s allegations Bahati said: “I think I’m a realist but it’s hard for me to say if he was telling the truth or not. I think in sports you may always have people looking for that extra edge but I have no clue. I’ve never been at that level of the sport.”