This is in response to a question left for me at the cyclingnews.com forum. Note that this is not edited for grammar, length, clarity or readability. You've been warned! [Note: this was originally published in 2009.]
I have no ill will towards Floyd Landis (though I wish he'd change the way he portrays me on his website...). I think he's been riding like crap in 2009 (relative to they form he had when he "won" the TdF) because he is mentally fried and only becoming worse mentally b/c he's seemingly living a lie (in not having admitted what he was found guilty of); I think that he can be redeemed STILL...even after having taken all of us for fools; but I doubt that he has the courage to do it and I think he'll continue in anonymity until he finally quits. I'd welcome the chance to have a frank conversation with him and would let him say to my face whatever he wants to say, though I would encourage him to come clean and admit to what he's been found guilty of...[I debated putting a disclaimer here, something along the lines of "if he really did it" because I know there are so many fans who want to believe in Landis's innocence. I'm not an expert on the science of doping control or lab procedure, so I can't add anything to the debate on those topics. I would hate for any athlete to be wrongly convicted of cheating, but at the same time, would encourage those - but not necessarily Floyd - who have doped and been sanctioned to abandon their incredible claims of innocence. Please don't take the public for fools and condemn yourself to living with a lie. Just fess-up and move on with your life in peace, knowing that you no longer have to hide the truth, and risk your heart and soul to protect corruption.]
I'm no religious zealot or anything like that, but I believe that there is redemption and healing to be found in admitting the truth - even if it portrays you horribly - and asking for forgiveness. Maybe that way he could forgive himself (even if it's just to forgive himself for getting caught) and move on with his life.
The guy could be an amazing role model ... the American public would elevate him to the status of a media god I think, were he to confess and keep riding ... but I don't think he has the courage to... If he's not guilty, which I find hard to imagine, I'm profoundly sorry for him, but if he is guilty...denying it forever is only going to eat away at what's left of his humanity.
Heck, I'd form a foundation with the guy and join up with him in promoting clean sport through town hall meetings and small-town bike races and what not (as opposed to town hall meetings that promoted his innocence and asked for money for his fund)...but I don't think it will happen. The fact that he spent more words in his book trying to discredit and degrade me, and not mention my name, rather than just referring to me by name (look it up) indicates some animosity...no?
Whatever engine he has on the bike, it's not firing on all cylinders because the mental control unit...the human ECU...is f'ed up. When I come back to the sport full-time, it won't be as a rider and it will be with much still to atone to, but I'll have admitted all of my transgressions and realized that any value I have to the sport and to humanity will come from facing the truth and helping others to understand why what happened is so terrible, and why we can't - as a sport, society, culture, country - wink wink away all of the sports doping that continues. For every guy who is able to make millions because dope helped him perform better, there must be dozens who end-up as hollow shells of their former selves, like this one below:
I've started coaching again, but now will work primarily with young riders who want to go pro or who are at least are willing to dedicate themselves to near full-time training (or training with school). I have one client who, in less than a month of collaboration, I helped recover from a season that seemingly left her wanting to quit cycling. Working together on a daily basis and showing her the power of the mind and its role in our success, I helped her come within a lap of winning a national championships. She'd completely shifted her thinking and way of conceptualizing the sport and her role in it. While she didn't get the stars and stripes, she still finished top-10 and, perhaps more importantly, learned what it is to believe in her natural abilities and harness them fully in pursuit of (natural, non-doped) sporting excellence.
All good stuff, and hopefully the building blocks for a life (mine) that can one day be fully rededicated to cycling...a sport that I love very much.