- Courtesy of Floyd Landis
But just weeks later he dramatically lost his title after a positive test result showed he had used performance-enhancing drugs during that Tour.
So started a years-long drama that would feature deep denials of doping and protracted legal battles.
Landis even wrote a book claiming his innocence, but eventually he confessed.
In the process he helped expose one Lance Armstrong.
In his heyday Landis was a talented climber in the high mountains of Europe, and for a very short time he was one of three American winners of the world’s greatest race.
After his world came crashing down, Landis went through a painfully long period of restarts, professionally and personally, and trying to overcome his past chaos and create a normal life.
And while he is still suing Armstrong in $100 million whistleblower lawsuit with the help of the federal government, Landis appears to have moved on from his troubled past.
On June 30 he’s throwing a party to celebrate the opening of his new business, a Colorado-based “recreational marijuana infused products brand.”
- Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
In a phone interview with Business Insider, Landis said he has used recreational marijuana from time to time to help deal with pain related to a hip replacement. That what’s got him thinking about doing this as a business.
“I had my hip replaced 10 years ago when I was 30 years old,” Landis said. “It kind of needed to be fixed again because I had a bunch of pain, and this has really been helping me out a lot. And it’s a cause I don’t mind getting behind, the elimination of prohibition in some of the states. It’s benefiting me and I know it benefits a lot of people. It’s something I care about.”
His wholesale products – oils, transdermal applications, edibles – will be sold to retailers. Cannabis is legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, although the federal government still considers it illegal.
“I’m just glad we can do it without any repercussions,” Landis told Business Insider. “There are a lot of other states coming online. California is voting on it in November. The last time it failed to pass. One of the big problems is the prison guards union spends a lot of money lobbying against it, which is just evil if you ask me.
“But it’s changing. Some people see it as taboo and some still have opinions about how best to manage it. But certainly the War on Drugs is a failure. I think people my generation and younger don’t see it the same way as those who were told by the Nixon administration years before.
“I think it’s foolish that it’s banned and that it’s banned in professional sports, that it’s illegal and people go to prison over it. If we can get past the little catchphrases by duplicitous congressmen and law enforcement just to keep this thing illegal, then we can actually have a real conversation about it.”
The launch event for Floyd’s of Leadville takes place in Denver on June 30 at Club Vinyl. (RSVP at floydsofleadville.com.) Landis hopes to start offering his products at dispensaries in the area around the same time.
Landis said he has backers but that he is the CEO and runs the company.
Asked if his former status as a Tour winner will help promote his new business, Landis said:
“Look, the only connection there is, like you said, is it allows me to get publicity, but at the end of the day I’ve moved on from cycling. But I still enjoy watching it and I respect those guys – and I hope they don’t have to make the hard decisions I had to make back then.
Thank you to everyone for the support. I’m happy to finally be involved in a legitimate industry.
— Floyd (@FloydLeadville) June 24, 2016
“I enjoy cycling and I watch it again now – I enjoy the human drama. Cycling takes more of a beating than it probably should. For whatever reasons, the management and the organizations that run it don’t seem to be able to figure out a way to properly deal with the issues they have to deal with. It’s a free-for-all. Most people who are not hard-core cycling fans are thinking it’s all a circus. I feel bad about it, but it’s what it is.
“But cycling for me now is just a hobby. I’ve moved on to this, and it’s a big opportunity.”
In case you were wondering, no, Floyd Landis doesn’t ride bikes anymore. He says he just got lazy, but one day he’s going to get back in shape.
“They’re all just going through what everybody goes through when they’re done being an athlete,” Landis says. “They’re just kind of lost. They might say they have a plan, but they don’t have a plan.”
Landis v. Armstrong
Asked if he had a sense of how and when the $100 million lawsuit against Armstrong might end, Landis said he doesn’t know.
“The last couple years, you know, my lawyer deals with it and I don’t really pay that much attention. I assume at some point there will be a trial. I don’t mean to sound flippant about it, but I just don’t care anymore.”
If he were to win, he’d be in for some big money. But Landis says he’s not concerned that much.
“I mean, I guess, but I don’t now and I never have lived my life thinking there’s some pot of gold. That was just part of what down in 2010 and the years before that. I’m better off not worrying about it.”
Return to the Tour
Will he watch the Tour this year?
“Yeah. For the first time I watched it last year. I avoided it for a long time because I had bad feelings about it, but I enjoyed watching it. I’m going to watch the finish this year.
“I might take a bottle with me just in case it’s a traumatic experience,” Landis said laughing, “since I can’t fly with any of my own product.
“I’d really like to go to some of the different stages,” he added, “but I think just going to the one in Paris will be a good start for me.”
Given Landis’ history with the world’s greatest race, that seems like a smart idea.
You can read the full press release below:
Floyd’s of Leadville Announced
June 24, 2016 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEADVILLE, COLORADO – Floyd’s of Leadville, a new Colorado-based recreational marijuana infused products brand, announces its product launch event on Thursday, June 30, 7-11 PM, at Club Vinyl, 1082 Broadway, Denver, Colorado.
Founded by former professional cyclist Floyd Landis, the new company enters the recreational cannabis industry specializing in cannabis oil sourced from high altitude growers using an industry-leading, pharmacy grade CO2 extraction process. The uniquely-formulated vape and transdermal products are crafted for an enhanced consumer experience and are carefully prepared in a lab using pharmacy grade ingredients and overseen by licensed pharmacists to maximize the many health benefits of recreational cannabis.
Landis relishes his new role as a producer of high-quality cannabis products.
“I am really excited about this new phase of my life. The cannabis industry is growing fast and I am fortunate to have this opportunity to play a role.”
Landis sees the mission of the company as dual-faceted, both as a producer of premium products and as a supporter of alternatives to addictive painkillers.
“The therapeutic uses for cannabis can’t be ignored. For years I relied on opioid pain relievers to treat my hip pain. With cannabis, I find that I can manage my pain and have a better quality of life. We need to give people a safer alternative.”
The product launch event is open to the public and limited to 300 guests.