Floyd Landis has vowed to repay contributors to the Floyd Fairness Fund, a trust established to finance the American’s appeal against his positive test for testosterone at the 2006 Tour de France. It is estimated that approximately $1 million was collected between late 2006 and late 2007, and went towards the legal costs of Landis’ case.
"What I want to make clear is that I can't at the moment set a timeframe for when I can start paying people back, but I'll be glad to take the claims so that I have them," Landis told ESPN.com. "I don't want to wait until I can pay it. I'd like to have it set up, because it's going to take time to sift through the whole thing anyway."
In May, Landis confessed to doping during his career and alleged that a systematic doping programme was in place at the US Postal Service team. He parted ways with his Bahati Foundation team soon afterwards, and the American is currently unemployed and without the means to pay back his donors immediately.
Contributions to the Floyd Fairness Fund came from a variety of sources and some individual donors paid thousands of dollars into the account, which was opened in Landis’ name at Washington Mutual Bank, which did not survive the global banking crisis. The rider did not have authorisation to make withdrawals from the account, however, as all transactions had to be signed off by Landis’ press officer Michael Henson.
Landis plans to draw up a form that will be posted on the currently inactive floydlandis.com website, allowing contributors to provide documentation detailing their donation. It is understood that he will reimburse smaller donors first.
"Probably some people are going to get $100 here and there that they didn't give, but whatever, we can figure that out," Landis said. "I know what the total is. I'm not that concerned about that."
Landis currently lives alone in Idyllwild, California. As well as feeling a moral obligation to repay the donors to the Floyd Fairness Fund, he also estimates that he owes his lawyers a further $80,000 in outstanding legal fees.
“At the moment, I'm not doing all that well, but the whole country's unemployed, so I'm not in the minority," Landis explained. "I would like to race another year, but I don't think that's a possibility. I'm going to have to figure out what to do. Hopefully, a little more time passes, it'll be easier to sort of fit into society. But it's getting to the point now where I'm going to have to get a job pretty soon, in the next few months."
The former US Postal Service rider appeared at an anti-doping conference at Deakin University in Geelong the week before the world championships and spoke of his experiences in cycling. However, Landis has kept precious little memorabilia from his time at the highest level of the sport. Among the few items that he has set aside are three signed yellow jerseys from his former leader, Lance Armstrong, which he will give to his stepdaughter.
"I have three yellow jerseys signed from Lance to me, from the three Tours I rode with him," Landis said. "They say 'Thank you.' I don't think he'd write 'Thank you' now."
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Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.