The countdown to the end of the suspension of Floyd Landis is nearly over. After two-years, the American who once stood atop the Tour de France podium returns to a changed sport as a different person. Cyclingnews sat-down with him at his team's training camp in southern California to re-introduce Landis back to professional road cycling.
The saga of Floyd Landis will likely never be forgotten by cycling fans. The epic story of stage 17 alone was enough for the history books, even without the soap opera that followed. But it did follow. And the roller coaster ride that ensued overshadowed everything else.
Anything that could have happened in the aftermath, seemed to happen. Two-and-a-half years later, the 33-year-old man at the center of it all is stepping back up to the plate. All he asks is that we focus on him as he is today, not what he was before. But in order to do that, we need to know how he arrived at this place – for his future in the sport teetered between return and retirement.
But there was a time when Landis was ready to hang up his wheels for good. Not only did he lose his appeal, but the US Anti-Doping Agency fought to begin his two-year suspension much later than originally scheduled because he participated in non-sanctioned mountain bike races. He said that if that had happened he would not have returned to professional racing.
"There was a period of time that I wasn't so interested in riding my bike... at all," Landis said frankly. "I guess during that time I didn't look too far ahead but I didn't think it was really something I wanted to do. More or less up to that point I'd accomplished and experienced everything in cycling I wanted, so along with everything else that happened I lost interest."
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