It’s hardly a secret that he tested positive for testosterone at the 2006 Tour de France and was stripped of his title. For four years he denied any and all accountability until recently when he decided enough was enough and he found the courage to set the record straight. The problem is that when you say one thing and then another, everything is naturally questioned.
Not to make light of Landis’ actions, but the story is much more complicated than a villain being exposed. Professional cycling has deep issues and while Landis is the poster boy of this predicament, he might also help shed some light on the sport which will lead to a better understanding and function in the sport.
As a journalist who is deeply invested with a love for cycling I had to make a concentrated effort not to make judgements. I didn’t seek him out to help clear his name or to further demonise him. I wanted to get inside the controversies, put the emotion aside and try to understand what went down. It’s important to cycling no matter what people think of Floyd Landis personally.
Cyclingnews: When you were first introduced to doping did it go through your mind that this isn’t right? Did you get a feeling you were trapped and had to do it?
CN: You mentioned that you didn’t want to end up like Pantani. How much was this a factor in coming forward?
FL: I went back and forth for years with what the best thing to do was. I don’t know how I could have best gone about it, but I’m sure I did the right thing. But I saw what happened to him as an example. This is in no way is a judgement against Pantani. Who knows why he did what he did. People go through depression for many different reasons. Maybe it had nothing to do with cycling. I did kind of feel trapped in the story that I had created to protect me and other people. I just chose that I didn’t want to feel that way anymore.