Floyd Landis and his lawyer, Howard Jacobs, are waiting to present their case regarding Landis' postive doping result in the 2006 Tour in an USADA arbitration hearing, expected for early 2007. If found guilty, Landis will face a minimum two-year ban from cycling and be stripped of his 2006 Tour de France victory. Since July, the 31 year-old American has had to deal with the stress of legal battles and losing a family member.
In an interview with England's The Mail on Sunday, Landis reported his defence has already cost him $150,000 and he is losing optimism. "The sport doesn't want me to win and it's going to be very difficult to do so," he said to the newspaper. "Even if I do, people will believe I've got off on a technicality. I want people to understand the true, scientific reasons behind my innocence, not a technicality.
"If I lost, I'm not sure I could carry on. I wasn't the highest-paid cyclist and it's looking like this might cost me $500,000. I think the authorities know I'll run out of money. They've said they'll appeal if they lose the hearing and that might take another year. ... If I'm banned for four years and stripped of my title and prize-money, I'll never race again. My desire for it would have been obliterated."
Landis gave the Tour de France an unwanted scandal when it was found, post-Tour, that he had tested with a high Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio. The result effectively ended Phonak's involvement in the sport of cycling, put riders and staff out of a job and has thrown Landis into legal battles to try to retain his Tour title.
David Witt, Landis' father-in-law and close friend, shot himself dead in a San Diego, California car parking lot shortly after the Tour. Witt's family refuse that the suicide had anything to do with Landis' positive result, but the rider is not ruling it out.
"I don't know why he did it," Landis said in the interview. "But I'd be deluding myself if I thought the dope case did not play a big part in his stress. He was a good friend long before he became my father-in-law. We used to cycle together... He was on the Champs-Elysees the day I won the Tour and he was at the victory party.
"I didn't talk to him the week before he died. I feel really bad about that but I was completely consumed by the accusations levelled against me. Maybe, if I had, he would have said something about how he felt. Now it's too late and we'll never know why. It's been the toughest few months of my life. One moment I've realised a lifelong dream in Paris, the next I've become one of the biggest doping stories of all time. But if it's been hard for me, it's been a great deal harder for my family."
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied