Floyd Landis will use the money that he got from the settlement of the whistleblower case to set up a development cycling team, he has told the Wall Street Journal. The team will be registered at the Continental level and is set to begin racing next season.
Landis filed his the whistleblower suit under the False Claims Act in 2010, claiming that by doping while racing for US Postal, Lance Armstrong had defrauded the US government. Armstrong could have been liable for $100 million if the case had gone to court but settled for $5 million in April, a month before the case was set to be heard. Landis said that putting the money back into cycling gave him an element of 'closure'.
"I'm contrite about what happened, but you can never go back and change the decisions you made. At the very least, people can see that I'm ready to move on," he told the Wall Street Journal. "Maybe it sounds odd, but it's kind of some closure for me.
"I have a conflicted relationship with cycling, as everybody knows, but I still like it, and I still remember what it was like to be a kid and race on a domestic team. It was some of the best years of my life."
According to the report, Landis has been left with around $750,000 after paying off his legal fees. He plans to use those funds plus money from his company, Floyd's of Leadville, to support the venture. The team will be in part made up from the Canadian Silber Continental team, which has been searching for a new sponsor for 2019. Silber directeur sportif Gord Frasier, a former teammate of Landis', will stay on as team manager.
"Floyd's passionate about cycling," Fraser told the Wall Street Journal. "I'd agree he's had his ups and downs, but hopefully with this new step, he's going to find the reason why he started racing."
Landis has decided not to take the team below the border and will continue to register the team in Canada.
"Yeah, I have a long history with USA Cycling, and I'd just assume I'd start with a clean slate," said Landis.
The team will be Landis' first cycling venture in nine years after last racing at the Continental level in 2010. Landis spent two years racing at the Continental level in a short-lived return to racing following his positive for elevated levels for testosterone after the 2006 Tour de France. Landis accepts that he is a divisive character within the sport and that his return to cycling will not be universally welcomed.
"They can put me in the same bracket as everyone else they want to go away, but at the end of the day, rather than yelling and screaming on the internet about how I should go away, they could go out and find some other sponsors to help them promote the sport," he said. "Those people are going to continue to talk like that and that's just who they are."