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Floyd Landis starting own cycling team

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Floyd Landis is using money he earned by taking down Lance Armstrong to start his own cycling team.

The man whose own doping saga cost him the 2006 Tour de France title and eventually helped expose Armstrong’s cheating says he’s building a developmental team for 2019 that will be based out of Canada.

He says this is his way of trying to rebuild trust inside a cycling community that has viewed him skeptically since he lied about taking performance enhancers in a much-publicized hearing in 2007.

“That’s the main motivation of the whole thing,” Landis said in an interview with The Associated Press. “A lot of things were said about me, and a lot was justified. A lot was PR from people who didn’t like the fact I exposed (the doping). One of the main arguments was, `He ran out of money and that’s why he did it.’ It was never the case. But there’s no way to disprove that, and if people don’t believe me now, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Three years after losing his doping case, Landis provided key information about his own doping and that of Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service team, all of which led to Armstrong’s lifetime ban.

Landis is using part of the proceeds from Armstrong’s lawsuit settlement with the government to fund the team. Landis and his legal team split around $2.75 million off the settlement because he brought a whistleblower lawsuit that triggered the case.

Now 42, Landis runs a business in the Colorado mountains, Floyd’s of Leadville, that specializes in marijuana and hemp-based products that are designed to relieve chronic pain.

His company will sponsor the new cycling team, which will take some riders from Silber Pro, a team out of Canada run by former teammate Gord Fraser that is shutting down at the end of this year. The team will also open opportunities for other young riders whose teams were dismantled after losing sponsors.

Landis is well aware his detractors will shake their head at his attempt to get back into the cycling game.

“I don’t like ridicule, obviously, and sometimes it looks like I’m looking for it,” he said. “I hope I can convince everyone that I’m contrite, I’m living my life, and hopefully they can let it go. Most people in cycling know that any support they can get for the sport is good and helpful. This gives me a chance to show them I can run a good team in an ethical way, and gives me a chance to show I know what I’m doing.”

Giro d’Italia to start in Hungary next year

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BUDAPEST, Hungary — The Giro d’Italia will start in Hungary next year.

The prelude stage will take place in Budapest, followed by two further stages on Hungarian soil.

Giro d’Italia organizers made the announcement on Tuesday at the Italian Cultural Institute in Budapest.

It will be the Grand Tour’s 14th start outside of Italy, with the most recent being in Israel last year.

This year’s Giro d’Italia will begin in Bologna on May 11 and conclude in Verona on June 2.

Gilbert beats Politt to win Paris-Roubaix

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ROUBAIX, France — Veteran cyclist Philippe Gilbert beat German rider Nils Politt right at the end of Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix race to win it for the first time.

Gilbert strategically placed himself behind the 24-year-old Politt, and then attacked him down the left to win by about a length after nearly six hours of riding. Belgian rider Yves Lampaert finished in third.

The race is one of cycling’s five high-profile classics, along with the Tour of Flanders, Milan-San Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro di Lombardia. The 36-year-old Gilbert, a former world road race champion, has won all except Milan-San Remo.

“I still have this dream to win all them. Little by little I’m getting there,” an elated Gilbert said afterward. “Politt’s very courageous. In the end the best rider won, and thankfully it was me.”

Last year’s Paris-Roubaix winner Peter Sagan joined Gilbert and Politt near the front with about 20 kilometers left. But Sagan dropped off, leaving Gilbert and Politt to contest victory as they reached the Roubaix velodrome in northern France.

Paris-Roubaix is known as the Queen of the Classics because it is the most prestigious of the five, which are otherwise known as “monuments” of cycling.

But the grueling and dangerous 257-kilometer trek is also known as the “Hell of the North,” because of its treacherous profile including more than 50 kilometers (31 miles) of cobblestones spread out over 29 sectors.

“A lot of people said cobblestones aren’t for me. But I’ve won Tour of Flanders and now I’ve won here,” Gilbert said. “I rode a good race tactically.”

Belgian cyclist Tiesj Benoot crashed into the back of a Jumbo-Visma team car near the end of Sunday’s race, smashing the back window completely. He was taken to hospital but his injuries were not immediately known.

Last year’s Paris-Roubaix was overshadowed by the death of Belgian rider Michael Goolaerts, following a crash.