We are grateful to Regis Croes, A Reader Who Took it upon himself “to translate this. As Was The Case With The Français original , all sites are welcome to take this text and publish it.Thanks, Regis!
In 2010, Paul Kimmage interviewed Floyd Landis, a few days before Thanksgiving [Thursday, November 25, 2010 (translator's note)]. Their conversation, which lasted seven hours, was partly reported in the article by Paul Kimmage of the Sunday Times published yesterday [Sunday, January 30, 2010] and for the general public. Paul Kimmage but felt that the detailed views of Floyd Landis on cycling should be released and he suggested the transcript of this interview. We of course accepted. The transcript is here presented in the form requested by Paul Kimmage, unedited by us. We would like to thank Paul Kimmage and Floyd Landis for this open forum and noted that the opinions put forward are those of the authors.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO FLOYD.
Interview with Floyd Landis, Paul Kimmage.
Last May, just days after the first bits of his confession of doping that have been around the world, I sent an email to Floyd Landis, reminding him that I had some notes written July 13, 2006 …
We went by car to finish on top of Val d’Aran. My usual observatory in the press room, I saw three riders – Denis Menchov, Levi Leipheimer and Floyd Landis – who escaped and fought sprint. One of the great joys when covering the Tour is access to the riders, I was so close to Landis, the new race leader, I could almost touch it. He was handed a bottle of water he unscrewed the cap, drank a sip and poured the rest of the bottle on his head. He removed his shirt and wiped his torso, covered in sweat every fiber of his body shrank. Its director of American sports has embraced, with tears in his eyes. Five television cameras and at least a hundred journalists were scrambling to gather a statement before he was moved to the podium. I was more interested in its behavior than his words, I scanned the look in his arms and legs and the tops of her buttocks, I was looking for traces of needle sticks and bruising, signs of one who knows the song. I took my pen and scribbled the following note on my notepad: “I’m dying to interview Floyd Landis. This is one of the sturdiest athletes and its history is fascinating. I want to tell your story to the world, Floyd. But how can I be sure that what I see is true? How can I be sure I will not be betrayed? ”
A few hours later he sent me this response …
Well, I have betrayed many people for reasons which nobody can put words. I hope my attempt to free my conscience will have positive consequences, but even otherwise, I love my parents too much to continue to lie to them. And I could never tell them the truth and ask them to keep lying to them. Hopefully we will have the opportunity one day to take a beer (they say I like it) and talk.
Six months later, on a bright sunny afternoon in late November at his home in the mountains of San Jacinto Mountains, we had a beer and we talked about …
Paul Kimmage: We could begin by recalling several times in your career, but first the Val d’Aran and what day you donned your first yellow jersey in the Tour de France. What does this mean to you?
Floyd Landis: When I started competing in bike races, it was not something I was thinking of doing one day, but there were several directions in my career that I have gradually been thinking that one day I could run the Tour de France, gradually, that dream became a goal. In 2006, after having had some good times [ATV] and then going through a difficult period in the team Mercury [1999-2001] and having had the chance later to earn a spot in the U.S. Postal team [ 2002-2004] before arriving at the Tour in 2006 with Phonak, there were so many opportunities where I thought it would not be realized until finally I found myself near the end, I did not really … I should not say that I did not like, but since the race was far from over, I had to stay focused on my goal. I have not had time to step back and really realize what was happening.
You looked happy at that time, no?
It’s funny you asked that question because I am never asked me during the past five years, but … yes, I was extremely happy and I remember that it was not like what I had imagined. I thought it was going to be stressful. I said to myself “There will be pressure and I’m going to have to face my responsibilities,” but no, not at all how I lived through that period. I watched Lance [Armstrong]. It was difficult to say what he felt because his face never betrays, in addition, it does not say much. I did not know exactly what to expect, but I knew perfectly well that I had been with someone who had worn the yellow jersey and I was very lucky.
You refer to the three towers that you run with Armstrong?
Yes, I was in a team where I had seen how we did … and of course I can not speak for others, but only from my experience and what I felt that day, which contradict precisely what I was told. It was not harder but easier on the contrary because, suddenly, I found myself in a situation where I knew I could do it.
That was it. There was no doubt in my mind that I would win. And it is a feeling that I had until the 16th stage where I had a day “without” [Landis has lost his grip on the final climb of the stage which arrived in La Toussuire and conceded eight minutes , leaving his yellow jersey to Oscar Pereiro of Spain]. At that time, it took dozens of hours I thought, “Well, maybe I’m not going to happen,” but nevertheless it does not destroy me .
Have you felt that you had lost the Tour after the 16th stage?
I can not say have been aware that it was lost, but I was pretty sure that the probability of winning was almost nil. I thought the best scenario was to attack [the next day at the 17th step, whose arrival was seen in Morzine]. I imagined two or three guys went with me and I thought to finish on the podium. But when I saw that nobody was with me and I found myself alone with [an advance] nine minutes, I thought it was impossible for them to come back. I do not know if I win the Tour but I knew I would win the stage … and it’s true, I went through all the way during this step.
What you did that day was really amazed.
On the 17th stage?
Yes, what you’ve done that day. When you have lost the yellow jersey during the 16th stage, I told myself: “It’s great. This is a sign that is less dope on the Tour since the yellow jersey can have a day without. ” True, it was something we had not seen for many years.
Yes, I remember that’s what some people have said.
Then I see you win the next day and …
The situation worsened during the night! (Laughter)
I had not thought that way … but I remember the day by reading some comments that were not quite the encouragement I have not really been affected because, when you’re in the heat of the moment and that we reach this point, one is accustomed to remarks about doping. I was not used to being interrogated and accused directly, but we know very well that this is a subject of discussion and it does not upset me. I just said … well, we’ll talk about it much then we’ll move on.
Given the history of the Tour, and the fact that so many victories are tainted by doping, what you did during the 17th stage was probably the greatest ride of all time.
Well, thank you. In any case, I do not mean that what I did is acceptable because it was what everyone did … it justifies nothing, solves nothing, but knowing what I knew and knowing its importance [ the problem of doping], I was happy to lead. That’s why I had the same feeling “normal” than anyone since in my mind it was deserved. I never said it before because nobody asked me, but if I had not had good reason to believe that Pereiro was also boosted – and, for once, I was absolutely certain – I had the feeling of cheating, but I knew he dopait, I had seen with my eyes. [Pereiro had run on the same team that Landis a year before.] It was moreover much more difficult to accept because everyone showed me the finger and Pereiro said that I had stolen the podium – it was really difficult accept this. What I am saying that everyone understands is that the views of each other does not really affect me since they were consistent, but the hypocrisy was probably the worst situation I faced during the past four years. His lies do not bother me, but I did not want him showing me the finger and saying that I had stolen the victory. There was no doubt in my mind: those that had strayed from the podium did not deserve to be included. It was as simple as that.
And when you compare what you felt after the 17th stage to what you felt at the Val d’Aran after the 11th stage, when you took the yellow jersey for the first time?
It was by far the best moment of my career.
The best time?
Yes, it was better than me on the podium in Paris because it was so different from what I felt yesterday, not to mention that in Paris, I was tired and had accepted the that, barring accidents, I would win. I knew what the public thought he saw me – and I do not speak here of doping, but only because it was not something that one sees in a bicycle race whatsoever, let less on the Tour de France – because the guys who are strong are rarely found in a situation where they are so far overall. Yes, it was a state I’ve never been in my life … not happiness, but a real feeling of fullness.
You say “not happy”?
No, I mean … I was just as happy when I first donned the [yellow jersey], but when I donned the second time, there was a feeling of fullness, in addition happiness. I had accomplished something that people do not believe me capable. I’m not one to feel obliged to show people they were wrong, but I had not enjoyed reading in the newspapers that I had no chance. It felt remote and my feeling has changed, a sense of … I do not know, I would say, fullness, and perhaps pride. I always tried to separate my experience of cyclist and my experience of being human. I was always afraid – in part because of doping and the strange political force in the sport of cycling – cycling my results change what I am deep in me.
What do you mean by “I’ve always been afraid?
I was afraid that [the opinion I had of myself] depends only on cycling since the turn taken by the sport does not appeal to me, I did not like that cycling has become a sport where you had to do all this, I never liked the bad policies that were implemented, I never liked the fact that we are forced to resort to doping. I should not say that my objection was moral, because I accepted this, but it was not something I was proud. At this point, it only became a challenge: “OK, let’s see if I can achieve the goal I set myself, but in any event, it will not change what I am in my heart. “That’s what I say.The image I ended up in the press does not reflect how I see myself or what I really am.What I mean is that if I have never met, you can not get an idea, even approximately, what I am.
No, it’s something that struck me already since we started this interview.
No, it’s impossible! And it is a situation that has consistently worsened to the point that I stopped worrying about me. I stopped worrying about me not because I did not tell the truth, but I stopped worrying about me because I absolutely could not do anything about it. There. I wish people really know who I am because I never wanted to hurt anybody, I never wanted to steal anything to anyone. The view of the public has changed when people found out that I was doped, but they did not see the steps that led me to this situation nor the small decisions I made in path.
On the question of identity, here is a photograph of you taken a few months before the Tour de France 2006 (I hold out my photography. He wears jeans, brand sunglasses, a black leather jacket and is sitting on a Harley Davidson.) This is a picture that seems to refer to an image of success and someone who seems to appreciate the lure of fame.
Oh yes, I liked it. This was not part of what I wanted in the first place-I loved competing and racing bike is always something I like – but the opportunity arose and I did not want to miss. What I mean is that people treat you differently, you better respect, everything becomes easier. There are some complications, but those who complain probably trying to justify other behaviors … No, I liked it.
What is your feeling when you look at this photograph now? What do you think when you look at the jacket, the motorcycle and the star?
(He thinks for a moment.) I was proud of what I was at that time, but I’ve never had to stand back and watch me act – it does not mean that I don ‘ did not treat people properly and I was not the man I wanted to be. Still, I’ve never been forced to step back and analyze how I had come from or where I was. And as I was proud to be that guy, as I am proud of myself today, not to make excessive use of that word because I do not want to seem arrogant or give the impression that I ‘m better than others, but I always enjoyed being as I am. And in retrospect, all things considered, all the decisions I made were small steps that brought me where I am today. Certainly, with the information I had, I took some risks, but I think most people would have taken too. I would not say I’m glad I went through all these situations, but I think I have improved now.
You said in an earlier interview with Bonnie Ford of ESPN that you do not feel guilty you are doped, which I totally understand given the context (when you run for Lance Armstrong) and what you saw in this U.S. Postal team. The question I would ask is: “Are you sorry to be doped? ”
Yes, I regret it and I’ll say precisely why … The decisions I made, and I do not necessarily feel guilty, ended up causing much confusion among the people I love – my family and relatives – and I regret that part. But I do not want to go too far in that direction, because if I had not made those decisions, in all probability I would never have won the Tour de France. Because of my career and the team in which I finished, I would never come when I have come had I not been willing to do that [my dope]. I would have known any of the benefits that I have known, and no disadvantages. So in my case, okay, I am able to cope. But these decisions have affected other people and that is why I have regrets.
Okay. Let me rephrase my question: if I gave you a blank? What would you do if you had the opportunity to start over?
All my life?
Well, given what happened, I’d do exactly the same thing, but after, I would simply say the truth.
When you have tested positive in 2006?
That’s what you say?
Yes, but I’d do exactly the same thing. I would not change anything. I would not want to miss it all.
OK, let us at first. You are the second of six children – four girls, two boys – born to your parents, Paul and Arlene. And you were raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, according to the traditions of the Mennonite faith?
Can you tell me about your brothers and sisters?
Their lives are much like how we’ve grown and how my parents now live. My older sister has children, she stays home and cares for them. My brother has a small landscaping business. Two of my sisters are unmarried and still living with my parents.
They still live in Lancaster County?
There have been divorces among them? Mennonites can they divorce?
No, we do not divorce.
Are they happy?
They think they are happy, yes.
But if they think being happy is surely as they are, right?
Yes … well, not always.
What do you mean?
Well, there are different ways of being happy. There are chemicals in the brain that make you happy when you’re ahead of the Tour de France and there …
Sorry to interrupt, but are they satisfied with their lives?
Yes, they are satisfied.
There is much to say about the sense of satisfaction here, right?
Absolutely, yes. Few people have that feeling.
I wonder why you were the one to leave the family home. You have the same genes and the same blood that your brothers and sisters but you’re the only one to have left the nest.
I do not know. Usually in the Mennonite community – for whatever reason – parents send their children to private schools or schools of Christian, but perhaps because my parents went to public school is to public school they sent us. However, the change between the time they went to public school and when I was old enough to go there has been considerable. Lancaster County is not far from Philadelphia – about an hour – and when my parents went to public school, students were mostly Mennonites, in any case much more than when I, I went and I think it took me on a much larger effect than they imagined. And when I became someone they did not want me to be, they sent my younger siblings to private school. I think they probably attribute some of that happened at school and share a trait of my personality.
So the public school that has put you in contact with this other world – our world?
Yes, a world I had not known at all without it. We had no television, no radio, we were in contact with anything else. And then, suddenly, I was abroad and I was forced to look around and wonder why I behaved in a way so that people behave in another way .That’s when I started analyzing everything I saw.
When did you begin to ask these questions?
Early. Some do not ask questions, but if you have a personality similar to mine, you start to ask questions. I started to question everything, not defiance, but because I wanted to know. Mennonites believe that if you’re not going to church on Sundays, you behave badly and probably offended God. We were not allowed to shop or work on Sundays.Yet even when you’re twelve years, this seems odd. What is work? Where do you place the boundary between work and nonwork? We do not do laundry on Sunday because it’s a job we can do the cooking, washing and use electricity, forcing others to work.Why is it good?
Can you give me an example where you’ve raised this issue with your parents? Was it a topic of conflict?
No, it was not confrontational … When I turned 12, every week or at least regularly, I had philosophical conversations with my parents and they told me “So” or “You must believe it, that’s all, “there was less chance that I may believe. And the questions became more complex, the more likely response was like, “That’s what the Bible says.And why the Bible say that? And why is the Bible it contradicts what she said to another location? It was really difficult to understand why I could not even think about some things while I could not live normally without thinking …
I was always taught – and perhaps a fault of my personality – but since I am able to think, I always took things at face value by applying them to what is reality. There. We were taught that the Bible says that not only adultery is a sin but lust is one and also that if you are a child of twelve, we’re going to hell! (We laugh). We can not escape it. It was originally a lot of questions because I could not bring myself to not to think if I saw a girl. I was extremely frustrated that it was a sin.
It was the name?
There was no one in particular, but you know what it is. You saw kids of twelve years. It is their age. I would not say that all my conversations with my parents just turned it around, but it was behind my questions. This was the basis for my questions …
“I’m going to hell because I feel this and that I should not,” right?
Yes, and, little by little, I began to question other things. “Why should I go to church on Sunday? Why half the men living on earth have they never heard of this religion and why will they go to hell? I can not accept it unless you give me a reason. And for the first twenty years of my life, all of my questions revolved around philosophical questions in the Bible. And so I ended up all consider: I applied the rules in black and white reality and trying to reconcile the way people made decisions and the one I took my own decisions. For me, there was no doubt that some great moral categories were justified … For example when my parents told me: “You must tell the truth, you must be nice to people, you must not harm others. “I did not need to explain why. It was something I could accept.
What effect does all this have on your parents? Were they worried for you? Was it a subject of discontent for them?
I think it has become not so much a subject of discontent that concern, because the older I get, the more the issues become more complex and my parents realized that I was not going to settle for the answers kind “that is it. For them, the answers were easier because they were not in contact with other realities, and I do not think I was so different from them if I had lived the same life they do. I felt absolutely no higher, I do not think they are right and I am not trying to show them they were wrong.
Where the bike up there in your development?
In retrospect, I would say the bike was my drug – this is perhaps the wrong word, but that was it. Ultimately, all people who ride bikes know that. It is a drug, it is an addiction. The bike was my way of forgetting what I was doing the rest of the time, that is to say, sit and watch life pass and try not to feel guilty. I took the bike and told me that I was training for something, but, in fact, I imagined I was somewhere else. Over time, when it became obvious that I could make a career and that I could participate in the Tour de France and maybe even win it, it was gradually transformed into an obsession: it became a goal achieve.
When did you hear about the Tour de France for the first time?
I had heard probably at the age of fourteen or fifteen, but was rather a kind of myth – I vaguely knew it was a race that took place in France. The first time I read an article on the Tour, was in a cycling magazine had my cousin. I do not know why he had this magazine and he did not even have a bike, but I remember there was Greg LeMond on the cover and I remember reading an article about him.
You were 11 when LeMond won his first Tour in 1986?
And 14 years old when he won his second Tour in 1989?
Yes, it was perhaps at this time. This is the first time I read something specific on the Tour this, I’m sure. I do not even remember what it’s told, but I vividly remember reading this article. At that time, I was already cycling, but I do not think I ever watched the Tour de France on TV before that Lance [Armstrong] did solo stage wins that followed the death of his teammate in 94 / 95.
This is the first step you’ve ever seen?
Hard to believe! You had almost 20 years!
(Laughs) Yes, it took little time between when I knew almost all of the Tour de France and when I won. It is shorter than the feeling that I had. It seemed like an eternity, but I remember seeing on TV that day thinking ‘I wish I could do that someday. I would really like to win the Tour de France. ”
At that time you were mountain biking and you had been selected for the junior world championships, right?
Yes, in 1993. It was the first time I flew, and the whole trip was traumatic because I had never gone anywhere alone or in a foreign country. I had never seen anyone drink alcohol and I was so upset by the behavior of people I have not managed to run properly. I think I finished dead last.
You use the word “traumatic”.
Yes, it was really traumatic.
I do not understand.
It was as if I had found on Mars. There were so many things that were different. I had never tasted any food that you eat in Lancaster County – meat, potatoes and things like that – and now suddenly I was eating things I do not know and I could not figure out what I should do, not to mention that there were so many different things that I could not digest all that bulk. So I dropped it. I decided that I would do anything to pass this course and go home. The race took place on Saturday. I had six days to go and I told myself: “Well, that’s what I’ll do. “I told myself that I stay in my room or ride a bike and I was going to drop everything else.
I thought the opposite was true, like “It’s great! You saw that? . What prompted you to not want to look around? It was scary?
It was scary because to me everything was done to get away from my goal. In my head, I wanted to stay focused on the race, but the more I looked around me, the more I was forced to think about all these other philosophical dilemmas that I had in mind: “In this country, people behave as it, yet it’s so different from what you told me, how can they justify that? “Instead of trying to look at reality, I did not want to watch … and that’s why earlier I said that the bike, with hindsight, was probably a drug because when I was riding bike and I started to think about what kind of philosophical problems, the question “Why do I break my head to do that? “I inevitably came to mind, and in this case, I preferred to go home. That’s why I had to disconnect and avoid thinking about it, because otherwise I could not run well.
And you do not run well?
No, I could just finish. I think staying two extra days after the race. The other juniors went out and have fun and I thought only one thing: going home. When I got home, I told myself: “Okay, it’s not for me. “I did not really understand what happened. I did not know why I had felt so bad, all I knew was that I got home, I was really relieved and I was only thinking one thing: ” No more competition for me. I do not need that. “After two or three months I had regained the upper hand and had digested what had happened, I found the energy and motivation. That’s when I started traveling more and that I’m used to living in other places, but my first trip was not very pleasant.
In 1995 you left home and you went to California. Is that correct?
Yes, I went on my 20th birthday. I met some friends who lived in Irvine. They told me that the winters are pleasant and sunny there – and Pennsylvania in the winter is probably the worst place for cycling. So I decided to spend the winter in California.
How did your parents react when they’ve announced you go?
My mother was shocked … no, not upset. She did not tell me not to go, but she shed a few tears. My father told me not to forget what I had learned, he also told me to be careful. My parents knew absolutely not California, but from what they knew was the Wild West. At the time, I thought they were exaggerating, but I think they knew in their hearts that I would not return. They had witnessed my transformation over time and the questions I asked and all they could tell me was “Do not do anything that you may regret. Now pay attention to you and pass a phone call from time to time. “For quite some time, I have not kept their word. In fact, I do not mention them very often because I did not feel guilty. Whenever I spoke, I had a guilty conscience to be gone; I did not see mom crying, I did not see my father suffer, but I really could not stay. I was not happy and I had no chance of being happy where I was … yes, I spent the winter of 1995 in California and I decided that I would never return to Pennsylvania.
How did the first year away from home?
Most of the time, I was really happy I was in California and I could think calmly and see what I do with my life. It is at this point that I began to see the bike differently and I had the idea of making a trade, not just a means of escape. So it was nice for many reasons, including because it was strange for me to spend an entire winter in the sun with a temperature of 25 °.
And sex and sex question? Before leaving, have you ever had sex?
I never had sex before leaving. I was out with a little girl my parents did not like, but I never had sex with her. Already, my parents made me wear this guilt for attendance, because we really did not come out with a girl in the Mennonite religion. So to say, you choose a girl you like in one way or another and you get married. A point is all. You do not think twice, you set this and that’s all. You do not put yourself in search of one that suits you best. This is not said, but we see a dim you go out with more than one or two girls before marriage because it indicates that there home is something wrong. Marriage used to have children and raise them to go to Paradise.
Who was this girl?
It was a high school girlfriend. Her name was Mary [in French in the text (translator's note)]. Everything was so complicated and, in addition, I saw no life at all like her. She lived in the “real” world and I’ve never felt comfortable enough to consider having sex with her. I had enough trouble trying to understand what was happening.
And when you arrived in California?
There were so many new things for me that I did not head to look after the girls. It came gradually. I first had to put me at ease with what I was problematic at the time: for example, it was okay to drink alcohol without feeling guilty, cycling on Sunday morning without go to church without feeling guilty.
Tell me the first time you drank alcohol.
I was going to be 21 years and I was out with friends to eat sushi. That’s where I drank sake. At that time, I went to people who drank alcohol in the evenings, but I never had the idea to drink, so that someone finally asked me why I don ‘ in sober. It was a question that had already arisen, but this time, I told myself: “Yes, why not? “And I drank. Afterwards, I thought it was stupid and I could not say I’ve never drank. Then I told myself: ‘Do I need to say that? Is it a matter? “It was fun to say I did not drink alcohol because people thought it was original, but I realized that it did not matter. Still, I had to lie to my parents. I had a bad conscience.
They asked you?
Yes, they asked for. I do not feel guilty of drinking alcohol, but being forced to lie to them. At that time, I decided there was no harm in drinking alcohol but it bothered me having to lie. Maybe that answers the question you asked earlier about what I would change, I would do everything exactly the same. But I would not lie.
The coffee was it taboo too?
No, not really.
And the cinema?
This is not a taboo but a technical argument – when I say “their”, I mean my parents and the Mennonite religion – is to say that the film exposes you to sin. The first movie I ever saw at the cinema was The Lion King. Do not tell anyone. I went with some buddies from high school in 1993 and I lived this out rather badly in the cinema because I had to lie to my parents and I went where they hide.
I thought I had read somewhere that Jaws was the first movie you saw.
I saw him at a friend and I was nine or ten years. That disturbed me because I thought it was true. I knew nothing about the film and I thought it was a true story, so I wanted to see more movie after that. I was afraid … but … it’s weird when you listen to music all his life, as do most people, we associate a song at a time and place. For me, it’s all mixed. Led Zeppelin reminds me of 1997! and yet this is not the time Led Zeppelin!That’s why all the movies I see are in another space-time than most people … To me, Apocalypse Now was an accumulation of violence. None of my relatives had gone to war, I knew nothing about Vietnam, I had no idea what it was before they learned what had really happened. Even today, there are films that I did not like there are five or ten years and I understand only now. I never liked Goodfellas before being in contact with all this mess, but now I understand (laughs). I saw it once and I thought it was a stupid movie, because I knew nothing about the Mafia and the system. In fact, I have long thought that the mafia did not exist. I never went into town and I had no idea this thing. But now I know what it is.
OK. So here you are in California and want a career in cycling.
Yes, for me it was mountain biking. I arrived at the professional level in 1995. It was perfect, but I have not really progressed in 1996 and I was using in 1997. I moved to San Diego in 1996 and I lived with a friend, David Witt, who later became my stepfather.It was he who encouraged me to continue when I had more motivation. Until then, I had a team and I always had a salary, but I had not found a team for the 1998 season and David told me: “Listen, you can not stop now. Try another year, try the road. Do not worry about the rent. I take care of everything. Fitness and tries to get a contract on the road. “That winter, I drove more than I had ever driven before. I drove ten hours a day. The night I was working in the restaurant of David.
There was a restaurant?
How did you become friends?
Arnie Baker began to be my coach in 1996 and he encouraged me to go to San Diego to be able to train. He said he had a buddy of his, David Witt, who had just divorced and was a little depressed. He told me that some company would have probably done well and he might need a roommate. David replied: “Yes, that would be perfect. “And we really became friends. It was a great guy.
How old was he?
He was about 48 years to that point.
He had children?
I wondered if that was why you were so well understood.
Yes, perhaps. He did not replace my father, but it was someone I could ask questions.
I meant the effect you had on him and I was wondering if you were the son he had not.
Yes, I think, is just what I thought and it’s partly why he was so upset by what happened at the end.
Do not burn completely, start slowly.
Heard. Yes, over time, it has invested emotionally in my success and the ups and downs that I met in cycling. I think I stopped in late 1997, but he told me to try one more year to train, to play a few races this spring and see if I could find a team. “You can stay here without paying anything,” he said. That’s what I did. I played a few races in Northern California in February-March and got good results. It’s more or less like this has started my career in the Mercury team.
The year 1998 is that of the Festina affair in the Tour de France. Did you know that doping in cycling at this time?
At this point, all I knew was because I had read, in other words not much. I knew no one in this world, I had no friends who have experienced it and I’ve never spoken openly. But when the Festina affair broke, I realized that this was indeed reality. I told myself: ‘OK, great, at least, everyone knows now. I do not like it, but it may be a blessing in disguise. “Everything seemed to get better and I was glad not to be involved in everything.
You joined Mercury in 1999?
Yes, John Wordin was the manager and he wanted to go on the Tour de France – it was his goal. I did not know much about the team because I really was not [so familiar that it] with the universe of the road and their goal mattered little. I paid 6000 dollars a year.It was my salary. It was OK. “Go ahead,” said David, “I take care of everything else. This year, I finally play the most races in the U.S. until we left on the Tour of the future [in September]. This is the second time I went to France.
And it worked?
Yes, I wore the yellow jersey and finished third. Then I got a phone call guys from the U.S. Postal [The U.S. Postal Service], but I had already started to run again for Mercury.I progressed and the team was progressing well. So I stayed in the team for seasons 2000 and 2001.
When did you meet Lance Armstrong for the first time?
The first time I came into contact with him was … it was at a criterium in Austin in 2000 or 2001, then I saw him at the Dauphiné when we came to Europe in 2001. I greeted him I wished him good luck for the Tour de France and he said: “Thank you. ”
Is that all?
Have you read his book [Not About the Bike life]?
Yes, I read it. I knew it was a book presentation and embellished. Of course, it’s a human being. I told myself: ‘OK, this is a good book, it’s motivating. “I thought it was good and I did not think for one moment that was too good to be true.
Before the publication of this book, he won the Tour 1999. What were your impressions of this victory?
When he won the Tour, I was sure he was clean.
That was pretty phenomenal, right?
Oh yes, that is to say that it motivated me, like everyone else. If you do not know the maps below, it’s a nice story, if it stops there. That’s why I tried to be open to the reactions of people when I say something, because everything ultimately depends on information available to them.
You met your wife, Amber, this year?
Because at this point David had found another companion?
Yes, Rose was working in front of our place in a small Catholic school. She was a teacher. David called and we dined together. One day we were having dinner and he told me they were going to present Amber [Rose's daughter].
Amber had a daughter?
Yes, her name was Ryan.
How did you fall in love and how was your wedding?
I met with David. She knew nothing about cycling and I do not know much other than the bike … but yes, we heard much from the start. At that time, I was obsessed with the bike and I was not looking for a girlfriend, let alone with a child, but it did not seem extraordinary. I knew my mother would be surprised to learn that, but I was sure she would not judge, it is not at all a kind.
Surprised to learn that Amber was a girl?
Yes. We dated for about a year and we decided to get married. I was still running for Mercury to that time and I did not make much money. As Amber’s mother could not finance the wedding, we just married for mayor of San Diego. I did not even tell my parents. We decided to get married and that’s all. I called my mother and I told him the news, which was not very nice of me. “I must sit for a moment,” she said. “I pass the phone to your father. “I told him and there was a blank on the line for a long time. It probably was not an ordinary method to announce her marriage to her parents but none of what I was doing at that time was normal, so …
How did you asked Amber to marry you?
I bought her an alliance and I asked Ryan to give him at a meal. It was around Christmas – a meal at the restaurant David. I had told David and he was there. Rose was there too. I gave the alliance Amber asking her if she wanted to marry me. We talked about it before and it was not really a surprise, but she was happy, it’s true.
And you, were you happy?
Yes, I was happy. At that time, I tried to get ahead in life and that I did not like not being tied to someone or a family, because I’d cut my own family. It was nice to have something else to build something that looked real and that I had not long ago.
So you get married at a time when the situation is not really ideal for you. You run a small team and you have no money.
Yes, but I personally have never had any money. I’ve never had this crazy security, but I knew I was good on a bike and I had a goal and a dream.
What was the purpose? And the dream?
I wanted to run the Tour de France win and if I could – it was what I wanted. For me, it was perfect because I always needed a goal, a sort of mission – even if it was a stupid mission as a race bike – but it was something capable of guide my life and direct all the rest.
Amber said she joined the mission?
Yes, it’s become her life, too. She read what was read. I never told him telling stories about doping. I always told her: “That’s my analysis. I chose this or that “and she let me make my decision, but she wanted to know. She said: “Do what you gotta do, but tell me and I’ll understand. ”
You married in February 2001. At what point did you realize that the problem of doping had not been settled and that you were going to have to use?
The year 2001 would be a great year for the Mercury team. John Wordin was determined to make the Tour de France and had recruited a group of European runners because we needed an invitation. I was talking with different people here and there; Gordon Fraser was a close friend and a good runner. He had been at Motorola [the team] and he told me that the bites were not his thing and he did not want to be part of the team. It was for this reason it was returned to the United States. Sometimes, we address specifically this issue with other riders … When [Peter] Van Petegem joined the team, I spoke with him and I asked him how they could justify it on a moral level because that At that time I was still totally opposed to this. It was an idea that I did not because it did not fit with the idea that I was cycling. I kept an idealistic vision.
The term “push” is it too loud?
No, I do not think it was a question … it was rather repulsive that I wondered how it was possible that so many people accept it as it was. I did not know that in a given system – in this case, cycling, that is to say a very structured and important – leaders could actually handle it all. I did not think was possible. I could not get used to the idea.I could not understand why so many people are willing to take the risk of getting caught. It turned out that not only people were willing to take that risk, but everyone was there, at least those who had some power. I was not expecting this. I do not expect that people openly criticizing the whole system and saying they were there to find a solution were actually those who pulled the strings.
How did you come to that conclusion?
As I said, the 2001 season should be a pivotal year for Mercury with the arrival of new sponsor, Viatel, but it was a complete fiasco. We’ve been paid for three months and it was then that I had for the first time in trouble with the UCI [International Cycling Union, the governing body for cycling sport] me essentially says: “We do not care rules.We we’re like that. ”
What was the context? Tell me.
I had to be paid 5000 dollars a month throughout the year. I was paid for three months, then nothing. When a team registers with the UCI, it must provide a bank guarantee which allows the payment of wages in case of default by the team. After thirty days, an athlete who has not been paid may request in writing the payment of his salary through the bank guarantee. So I asked a complaint with the UCI and they responded: “It [the team manager, John Wordin] is trying to clean up its finances, thank you not ask your claim now. Please adjust your salary in two months. Please wait. So I waited two months and then I found myself penniless. I needed the money, and this time I actually asked a claim. They said: “We ask you to wait another month. We hope everything will be settled by then. “We were in July or August and I was dry. I asked my lawyer to send an email saying “I must be paid and if you do not pay me, I will take legal proceedings.”We received a letter directly to Hein Verbruggen [UCI president] saying ‘We’re not in the U.S., but in Switzerland” and “threatening to sue us, you will elicit negative reactions and I’ll ask all my colleagues treat you accordingly. “Clearly, the message was:” Get out, you will not have the money. “It took me two years to get that money.Whenever we tried to contact them, they told us to go and show us by threatening us and telling us lawsuits that they did not care, it did not stop. It was during this period when I was trying to get my money that I was hired by the U.S. Postal.
When you joined Mercury in 1999, you do not seem to worry about money – they pay you next to nothing – but in 2001 you’re in serious conflict about your contract. What has changed? I know you were married that year and someone told me that Amber was “ambitious” and you had “pushed”. Really? What was it?
No, Amber has never pushed. I have a very decided to consider the money. In this area, my rules are: 1) if I say I’ll pay someone, I pay, regardless of whether or not that a good job. For example, I paid Rutherford Michael [his agent] 10% of my contract in 2006, although I have been paid until July before being fired. 2) If a pledge to do something – even if I think I am worth more – I give the best of myself as long as you pay me as agreed. 3) If someone agrees to pay me and has a legitimate reason for not paying me, I forgive him, I forget and I do not think anymore about it. 4) If someone agrees to pay me in return for certain services and does not then he can afford it, I see red and I consider it my duty to be paid, regardless of what it cost me. That’s what my parents taught me: when we undertake, we take this commitment, at any price.
OK. So you join the U.S. Postal in 2002 as the conflict with Mercury and the UCI is underway.
That’s right. I always tried to get this money when I started running with Lance, and at one point I said to Tim Maloney Cyclingnews – at that time I was under contract from the U.S. Postal two, three months – I was sad to see that the UCI had not respected its own rules. Verbruggen called Lance and asked him to remove my comments and apologize to Cyclingnews. It is in this context … I started talking about doping and Lance gave me advice me on how Ferrari worked. We were doing training rides together. It was during one of these trips he told me: “Listen, Floyd, we need you to do what this guy asks you because we’re going to need his services. That’s something that happened before. I tested positive in 2001 at the Tour of Switzerland and I had to ask a favor. No matter if what you say is true. I believe you, I’m sure you’re telling the truth, I’m sure they did not follow rules, but it did not matter. You have no choice. You must present your apologies. I said “OK. I did not know how it worked, but it’s understood. This is the first time I hear about someone who gets paid to clear a positive test, but I do not need to know more. If this is the kind of support I need, for sure I’m not going to make insulting the guy who can offer support. He said: “This is what I ask you to do. I’ll call Jim Ochowicz [president of USA Cycling]. He will call him and you Verbruggen Apologize by saying you’re sorry. That was in 2002. That’s what they tried to turn in my email. This conversation took place in 2002.
Ochowicz Why was it called? What was his role?
It was he who acted as intermediary – that’s what Lance had said. He said, “Look, it’s Jim Ochowicz which deals with this kind of thing. ”
Have you apologized to Verbruggen publicly or privately?
Through whom did you a public apology?
Tim Maloney. I said it was Verbruggen who had asked me. He said they would put it on the front page, but they have not made the front page. I think it has actually been printed, but …
But there is probably a trace of your excuses.
And apologies in private?
[He takes the time to think] I may have mixed the two incidents [in Cyclingnews retraction was published in 2003] but I’m pretty sure the telephone call between Verbruggen and I was held before the Tour de France 2002. I know I was in St. Moritz and I know I have not used my U.S. mobile phone because it was too expensive. I seem to remember that we stopped for a training ride and I used the phone to answer a call Lance Ochowicz of which put me in contact with Verbruggen by conference call. But I do not think Lance was right beside me listening to me, he stayed away. The call lasted only a few minutes … and again, I did not do that because I was forced to do so, I did it because I understood the situation perfectly. I said “Sorry or not, I must apologize” because now I know how the UCI. The fact that at the highest level is the shots left me two choices: either stop and say nothing or accept this mode of operation and try to work my way in the middle of it all.
What are the decisions you made then that were influenced by this knowledge of the UCI and the relationships it had with Lance? What is the importance of this factor in the decision you made you dope?
In fact, everything starts from there. If I had the feeling that people involved in the operation of the sport really wanted to bring order, it may be that I am told that waited long enough I can win without resorting doping, but for me there was no way I can run the Tour de France and win one day being clean. Yes, yes, everything starts from there.
Okay, that makes sense.
I’m glad you asked these questions because it allows me to clarify what I tried to say a hundred times, but not as clearly. It was I who took responsibility for my dope. It was I who made those decisions. I’m not accusing anyone. Nobody forced me to do, but given the circumstances, we almost made the decisions for me … Before that time [the conversation with Lance Armstrong], no decision was adopted, but from from there, I told myself that the die was cast: there was no chance that this problem is resolved and therefore it had to either accept or leave. To complicate matters further, I was well paid at that time, I had the opportunity to race the Tour de France winner’s team, I just discovered that all was not as simple as I and thought that I could ride a bike while earning lots of money and … no, really, I did not want to miss this chance.
OK. If you could go back to the beginning of this first season with the U.S. Postal and your first encounter with Lance. In a long article in the Wall Street Journal last July, you described the first course of December 2001 and an expedition group one evening to go to a strip club in Austin. You said it was Lance who was driving and it was burning red lights …
[Smiles] Yes, he transgressed all the rules!
This is the first time you’ve seen it himself as being above the law?
Yes. I really hesitate to tell the story of the box striptease because I did not want to give the impression that my goal was to do everything possible to darken the picture, but this episode gave me an excellent opportunity to show that … the way he behaved absolutely did not fit with what the book said [autobiography]. In the middle of the bike, people were talking and said it was a type uncommon and all that, and there were even rumors of doping, but in reality I knew him only through books and a few rumors . There, I had proof.
You see with your own eyes, right?
Yes, the truth was over it was said. To be honest, it was not serious in itself. I had never had contact with the media and I do not know how hard it was to do what he did, that is to say, to live his life in a manner and to disguise to develop a story like that, almost entirely manufactured and live a life so lackluster without even trying to hide it.After all, I do not really know, he had not even given time to prove he could trust me and he put me in the car and we went into this box is everything. He was a guy who did not even try to hide, and yet, the story remained the same. He behaved like a nobody and we were served a different story … a great story – that of a guy who motivates people and gives them hope. Personally, I live my life as I want and I’m certainly not judging it, but I know one thing is that these stories are not true.
The portion of the article in the Wall Street Journal was: “Mr. Landis said he was surprised that Mr. Armstrong attended this kind of club, but he was not offended. Mr. Armstrong is different in private and in public, it does not bother him. Yet, given your education, how could you not be embarrassed to see that it does not behave in public as in private?
When I say that it does not bother me … Let’s say that at this point, I do not think or want, or even be able to do that, but it was what I said in the heat of the moment and at this point, it’s true that it does not bother me. In addition, I was still a bit dazed at that time. Even if I had not been brought into the world of cycling, even when I knew it was definitely a star.
A global star?
Yes, it’s a real star. He really should have lost his memory not to be aware of and that’s why I was a little dazzled. So for me … I do not think it was the best way to live her life, but ultimately I do not know everything. I do not know why it had to be like that, or even how it was possible, but it was fine. I was thinking it did not bother me to work for him knowing that he knew more than me and, after all, was just fine. I am repeating myself, but I could change anything, or even tell him he should not have acted like that.I do not know enough to judge him.
Has it changed what you thought of him?
No. I had heard rumors that he was not as nice as in the book, so I was not caught off guard, but it confirmed to me that I would have to try to understand who he really was.I knew nothing really.
Were you disappointed?
Yes, absolutely. I clearly remember that feeling of disappointment because I loved that the story is true.
So, from your first contact at this stage in Austin, you’re very quickly in the circle of intimates. And seven months later in St. Moritz during a training camp pre-Tour with Lance, you will Boost for the first time.
Did you ever see performance-enhancing drugs before?
I had done personal research because I am curious and I had probably seen photos …
You did not witness the team?
Here is another passage of the Wall Street Journal: “During training camp (Austin, December 2001), Mr. Landis said he had met privately with the manager’s team Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel. Mr. Landis said Mr. Bruyneel he wanted to be one of eight riders, competing in the Tour de France with Mr. Armstrong and his willingness to do whatever he needed outside the drive to achieve classic … Even if nothing had been said explicitly about doping, Mr. Landis said that in his view, the context – that it was willing to take drugs – could not to have escaped Mr. Bruyneel. “Is that fair?
Yes. It was my way of trying to discover the truth. There were long enough that I was in the bike to have heard rumors and I told myself that the only way to have the heart net was to tell him I was ready for anything. I did not know what to do if I had the opportunity to race the Tour with Lance, but I knew it would be a difficult decision and I told myself I had better address the subject at home , United States, to know what to expect. After all, these were only rumors, even though I was pretty sure they were based, but I wanted to be sure to have time to sober reflection.
In fact, I tried to put that in connection with your conversation with Lance seven months later and with apologies to Hein Verbruggen.
All this has been central factors in my decision to dope. Still, I was not fooled this time and tried long ago to consider doping in several respects. For example, I did not know exactly how they [the team] could circumvent the controls because I had never worked with a guy like Ferrari. Or, what would happen if they do dopaient on the Tour and if I found myself having to take this decision while I was there already? It was all I had in mind when I signed up for the U.S. Postal. That’s why I said that I had to ask.
OK. So the first time you Speeding is with testosterone patches in St. Moritz. Yet you do not feel guilty.
I’ll try to explain the context of this lack of guilt. I felt at that time I had really advanced.I was going to compete in the Tour de France and all that stood before me was quite interesting. I did not want to look back. I never found as close to the goal and time was no longer thinking. In fact, it was already a done deal for me. I had already accepted this situation.
Needles, do not you ever stop?
I never liked it but it does not bother me and I do not give a guilty conscience … not to mention that my first taking doping product was not an injection, but a patch of testosterone, which is a way softer start. Without wishing to push the analysis, say that it is much easier when it’s just something that looks like a drug because it does not even seem wrong.
You said you had talked to Amber at all stages of the process. Did you say to other people?
I talked to David a lot.
What did he say? Did he understand?
Yes, of course. He also understood that it bothered me a lot and it was really difficult.When I returned, I told him what I had heard or learned. We talked at length to see whether or not it was justified. I think we’re both come to accept the idea that this was so and not otherwise. He did not give me advice, but he pushed me to think.
About the risks I took and wondering if this was what I wanted or if it would instead prevent the development of cycling in the right direction. This gave me a problem as, in fact, I still did not know if, by doing that and going to the Tour de France, I went one day to tell me that I had reached my goal , even accepting the idea that others were doing and being able to tell me that I do lésais anyone. I did not know before doing so.Finally, it’s probably what I could never convince me thinking about it – regardless of the outcome.
You used the word “risk”. Was that the risk to your health or the risk of getting caught?
I was concerned about the risk to my health, I was concerned about all possible risks.Of course … well, obviously not, but say the biggest risk for me was that of getting caught and being forced to try to justify myself. That was my biggest fear. I knew how people were treated who had been caught and I knew it was something I wanted to avoid. Still, I decided one way or another that … well … I can say one thing: an impossible situation for those who are caught as they are torn to pieces by media, but I could never predict or consider, was what really happened. How could I foresee that the day I fight a step that will remain in our memories, we will accuse me of myself doped?The whole world is watching, I actually won the Tour de France and it is precisely at that moment that everything comes out. You may turn the question of risk in every sense, I never imagined this. Never.
You say that you could justify because you do lésiez person, but in reality you lésiez some riders. There were of course the 2006 Tour that does not cheat. What is your attitude towards these riders that? How do you stand?
Well, let’s be clear. Anyway, there was someone who would injure them and I preferred not to be part of those who were injured. There is no ideal scenario. There is no way to restore order there. I will not go to the UCI to tell them, since it is they themselves who are corrupt.
What do you know Chris Bassoons [former French rider who was dismissed when he took up the cudgels against doping during the first victory of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France 1999]?
It seems to me that he tried to do what I considered the option C. Personally, I felt that it was not worth the trouble to spend time, especially in the U.S. where Lance was already a superstar and I was unknown. If I had turned up, saying: “Here. That’s what Lance told me, that’s what I know about cycling. We need to dope to win and I do not want “I’m not sure we would have listened.
In fact, I wanted to know what you knew Bassoons when he ran in the Festina team in 1998?
No, I do not know what he did or did not do this team.
Bassoons was an extremely gifted runner who ran in Festina at a time when teammates were charged to the eyes of EPO and the whole arsenal. He was sitting at the dinner table every night next to the guys who taunted and mocked him because he refused to take drugs.
It blows my mind. I like this type.
How about the strength of character he was for it?
Oh, I’m impressed because I did not, and I could not do it.
You could not?
I should not say that I could not … I guess I did not. I’m happy for him, I’m impressed. I do not know how many guys would do that, but there are not many … Again, I hesitate to say something because I seem to justify what I did … no, I’m impressed. I do not know, but I’d be happy to meet him.
OK. Back to your relationship with Lance because now you do not only part of his inner circle, but you are almost ally. In his book Lance Armstrong: Tour de Force Dan Coyle went up to talk about friendship. This was true?
We were friends, as far as can be with Lance, but his friendships are limited to a certain distance – can not be approached within a certain distance from him, because for some reason I do not know why he does not let people get too close to him. Yes, as far as can be friends with him, I was his friend. He trusted me.
Have you wanted to be closer to him?
Not really. For me it was just fine.
Because this is not someone you really like?
Say I do not know if I’d a lot of effort to spend time with him. It is not so sociable than that. This is not … this is not someone who looks like my friends, but it does not bother me. For me it was fine like that. If he wanted to be like that and if I could play an important role in the team, it suited me perfectly. I was in the team was happy to do my job and show that I was a good runner.
And that was enough? You do not want more?
It did not matter. I mean it was good to be there and to feel important, but I like being myself and it did not need to be like me. It did not matter to me. In fact, if you want, it does not please me because I could not be myself when I was at his side in this case, I had to play the role of the guy who was by his side . If there was just him and me, it was because I could talk to him at which I was allowed and we could totally talk. But whenever there was someone around, he protected himself more and more it was him.There were more people, it became more and more paranoid he feared losing control of the situation, at least from his point of view. But yes, when I say that I became his friend, is true to some extent, but no more. It was essentially for the job and if he needed someone to train.
Is there ever a time when you realized that you could not get close closer?
No, it took me some time because he knows how endearing when he wants. If there are few people and if you want to integrate into the group, he really knows how to show honest. And not because he is not sincere, it’s not all white, all black and it’s hard to say. It took me a while to understand how he interacted with others.
In the portrait that Dan Coyle brush you in his book about Armstrong, he is a goofy side.And when I say “crazy”, I think in this day in Girona where you sit with Dave Zabriskie [friend and former teammate] and when you drink cappuccinos in a row 13. Tell me about this character, because I do not recognize in him who is sitting opposite me.
I like to do ridiculous things as they do not hurt anyone. I do not always want, only sometimes if I’m bored, so I do not want to be serious and if I hang out with Zabriskie.Sometimes even just for fun (laughs) … Why not drink cappuccinos 13, after all? The problem is that I may be crazy at times, but there is a limit to what I can do just because it’s funny. No, I would not do anything to hurt me or hurt someone else … although I suppose some might say that drinking cappuccinos in a row 13 is bad for your health.
How did it start?
It was really bad and others wanted to go train. I do not. I told Zabriskie: “We do not go. Let’s have a coffee. “We went to the cafeteria and ordered a cappuccino. Then the waitress came back and asked me if I wanted another cappuccino. We are in Girona and there are still some funny things with the language … When I ordered a third, she must have thought it was funny and go from there. I ordered a fourth and fifth. She continued to take them and, as she brought, I drank and it became more and more fun – especially for Zabriskie. Finally, I drank thirteen or something like that …
Zabriskie drank too?
No, he stopped at four or five. Then, I was so tired I got home and I took a nap.
Even with this dose of caffeine?
Yes, I do not know why, but I can sleep even after taking a lot of caffeine. So we went back and Zabriskie told the episode to one of the guys who went to train and it reached the ears of Lance, and at that time … It was the beginning of the year and I had not spent much time practicing with him. He must have thought: “This guy does anything.Everything he loves is messing around and he should be told what to do. “From there, he told me to come train with him and he begins to tell me how I should conduct myself and how I should train. I was not going to discuss. I’m with Lance Armstrong, who told me how to train. I will still not tell her: “I already trained a lot. I’ve worked hard to reach this level. So I listened religiously. I was perfectly happy to listen to her advice, but what I remember of that conversation was that I had to adapt, it was better not to get noticed and do not go crazy for the service . “I think that’s partly what explains his frustration when I left. He felt that all I had was due to the advice he had given me. In fact, he had no idea of all the efforts I had made in training or whatever I had to do to get there.
He did not seek to know where you came?
No, it was equal to him, which was very good, and when I finally left the team, he took it for a personal affront – in fact, it always tends to react in this way – but I imagine that in his mind he must have thought: “Everything he has is with us and it should show a modicum of loyalty. And because we’re a little similar in some ways, I was annoyed because I knew I had done the best job possible for 60,000 dollars a year. I was better than the guys who were making 800 000! How could they blame me and say I owe them something? I mean – and this is not unique to the bike – but it is always the business side when you want something aspect and “friendship” when they want something and the end is this way they eventually present situation. I tried to deal with it a minimum, but he so loves to control everything and he is so adamant that I thought it was not worth trying to manage it. In addition, I did not want more than that to be his friend because at that time, I understood that we could not and I said: “Too bad. I address him to speak. “I could be a little more politically astute and tell me that I should not become his enemy. That may be why I’m at that point now but …
You ran for three seasons with Armstrong and the U.S. Postal team in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Is that right?
Your parents came on the Tour in 2004?
Yes, and my three younger sisters. They remained on the stages in the Pyrenees and for most of the mountain stages before returning to the United States. They do not go to Paris. They do not like big cities. They can live with the campaign but they did not want to go downtown.
It was the first time they took the plane?
No, I flew with them to go to California once … probably in 2003.
What did they think of the Tour?
They were happy to see me and watch the race, although it was difficult to move and manage it all. It’s one thing to go to France, but that’s another thing to try to see the Tour. I think that part was so stressful that they could not travel around and they did not like the country. They were happy to be there and see me. The positive thing is that they understood why I was fascinated by the Tour de France. They saw the enormity of the event and the enthusiasm it aroused. This was partly why I wanted them to come because it’s something you do not feel on TV. But I’m sure they were happy to go because, even by being used, it’s still exhausting. I was really surprised I did not think they would – not for what reason I know not religious – but I thought they would have been afraid. For someone who has never traveled for fifty years is not easy to want to go somewhere like that.
What does this mean to you?
Much. I had always hoped they could see and understand everything and it was great to know there and see them on the roadside. I’m glad they could see that, especially in light of what happened later. Otherwise, they would not understand what was happening or why it was quite a story. This is not what I thought at the time, but in retrospect, it was really good they could come. They saw all the commotion and understand how we could be required to make decisions that would be impossible to understand if we had no idea what it was.
There were tensions within the team during the 2004 Tour. After the time trial at Alpe d’Huez [Landis finished 21st in the stage], Bruyneel has accused you of disloyalty.
I was really upset because if we can have certainty is that I am … you will not find a more loyal than my teammate. If I’m your teammate, and if I agree to do something, I do. They asked me not to ride a block [in the cons-trial] and to keep forces for the next day. Bruyneel has accused me of having the forcing and it really bothered me. I never gave them reason to think that I had not done what I had requested. At this point I decided that no price I would not stay in this team. They could tell me anything they wanted. This remark was so upset that nothing could make me stay in the team, nothing.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, you described the methods used within the team for blood transfusions during the Tour de France 2004 – first at a hotel in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat in the first rest day, then later, when the race arrived in the Alps.Here is the passage: “transfusions in the hotel room near Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat were not the only occasion during the 2004 Tour where some riders were blood transfusions,” said Landis. The second time, he said, the scene was even more strange.This was after the day’s stage, the team bus stopped at a tiny mountain road. The driver opened the rear cover to simulate a failure and started to pretend to be repaired.The bus had great seats on each side and a rider was lying on each bench, “said Landis.The doctors were perfused by fixing the blood bags to the sides of buses using tape. Mr. Armstrong made his transfusion, lying on the ground. Mr. Landis said that the procedure took about an hour. “Is this a clear description of what happened?
Before this interview, all that we knew what was really happening in the team had just two runners past the U.S. Postal, Jonathan Vaughters and Frankie Andreu and an exchange of emails widely released in 2005 …
Vaughters: It’s the funniest thing I ever heard: during the rest day of the Tour last year, Lance and Johan are emptied into the toilet blood bag Floyd before him for that it is a tone lower.
Andreu: Cow! I had never heard that. It’s crazy!
Yes, I read these e-mails, but I … I do not really see what he was referring to if not … In the episode of the bus, which was the last time I made a blood transfusion in this team, we drove so well that all the others looked ridiculous. The doctor tells me that half of transfused blood bag and threw the rest. There was nothing malicious there. He only said, “Okay, check this. Unless they give, the easier it is to maneuver. “And I replied:” No, c’mon. Put me. And he said, “No. It is strong enough that way. “There was nothing special. That’s probably when I told this story to Allen Lim Vaughters or … no, I could not tell that to Vaughters, he had to hear about it, but I’m probably wrong because of the controversy of the Alpe d’Huez the next day and it turned. This is another trick that ended in the press. I read that, but I did not know what to do. I wanted to correct, but if I correct, I must confess that I was indeed blood transfusions, so I was obliged to say nothing and act as if nothing had happened.
2004 Tour of this, we retain a separate incident, one of Italy’s Filippo Simeoni. [Shortly after the beginning of the 18th stage from Annemasse to Lons-le-Saunier, Simeoni joined a breakaway of six riders and was chased by Armstrong. The Italian posed no threat to the yellow jersey, but Simeoni testified against Armstrong's friend, Dr. Michele Ferrari, during a trial on doping in 2002.] What was your attitude during this episode?
I was really upset … It turned out that I was in front when Lance is gone like a bomb.Obviously, he did not want it to take his wheel. I knew why he did that. On the bus, he told us: “Beware, do not let Simeoni in a breakaway. “I turned and I told the others to ride, but he was already halfway back on the escapees. I immediately jumped on the radio and I said to Johan [Bruyneel]: “You have to ask Lance to get up,” and the only response was: “It’s your job hunting. “I told him:” Well, I will still not look like an idiot leading the chase behind the race leader when I’m in the same team as him. You think I’m an idiot or what? I’m coming. “I let myself slip back and I went up to the team car,” Johan, this is ridiculous! It looks like what? It will look like a fool. How will we explain this? You must tell him to get up. “Then he asked Lance to get up, but he wanted nothing to do. Johan told me to go back to the front and roll. I told him: “No, I do not want anything to do with it. I remain at the rear. “And I stayed at the back of the pack until Simeoni is resumed. I thought it was stupid and I said what I thought – it was not a question of assessing Simeoni or not – but it was just silly to do that in the race. It was completely unjustifiable and I did not want to give this game “Nobody said anything. I was the only one to open it against Lance. If something was wrong – and there was obvious – it was absolutely necessary that I should say.
Are you saying that it was not because he was leading the race and you were in the team?
No, but it was not right to treat it as Simeoni. I never did that.
It was not right to treat Simeoni this way?
Absolutely, but what I meant to Johan had nothing moral in that time. My argument to try to stop him was: “It’s stupid. What is it? “I disagreed with what he did. I never did that. Okay, I accepted the fact of winning while my dope, but I could never agree to stop someone else to win because he does not dopait. That would have really embarrassed. I never did that. I’m not racing to prevent someone else from winning.This is one difference between Lance and me. I derive my satisfaction of winning or reaching a goal, while he likes prevent others from winning.
You said earlier that you were in some ways similar?
Yes, yes. I will never let down. If I decide to do something, I never let down, ever, and he knows it. This is also why, although I was stupid to make me an opponent, I can not believe he decided to help succeed in cycling. He spent much time in 2005 to treat me like Simeoni: they took me in hunting for no reason and did strange things. I’ve never spoken, but I knew why he did that.
You were asked in an interview in 2006, but you’ve booted into touch. You do not really answered.
I know. I always tried to avoid this question because I thought at that time it seemed petty. Besides, nobody would have believed me. Yet, I knew full well. Once, during the Dauphiné, Chechi [Rubiera] came to me and apologized for having chased for no reason.”You know why I do this, ‘and I told him:” Why do you listen to what you said? - “Because I can not do otherwise. “I have not taken into account, but I knew it. And it was my fault since I knew it would happen when I left the team. It was a choice: “If I leave the team, is what will happen. ”
Financially, what was the difference between your salary of 2004 and you paid Phonak in 2005?
My salary was $ 230 000 in 2004 and 500,000 in 2005.
You doubled your salary?
I doubled it and what they offered me … I knew what they were doing and there was nothing wrong with that. Obviously, this has reinforced my determination to go …
To leave the U.S. Postal?
Yes, [the 2004 Tour], during the first ten days on the flat stages, they made me work at the front all day, without exception. They expected me to be tired to come talk to me.That’s what they did the first year I raced the Tour, they come to negotiate when you are completely dead by saying, “Look, everything will be okay. We will take good care of you. But the problem [in 2004] is that I did not get update “without”. And so they came to talk to me while I warmed up for the last lap [the penultimate stage] and they offered me $ 300 000 per year for three years, which was Unless they [Phonak] offered me for two years. I told them I wanted to be paid 500,000 and that if they did not pay me, that was their problem. They said: “You know very well that we did not used to raise the stakes and we pay people on their merits. “I told them that where I came from, it was worth what people were willing to pay you. “No problem,” I added, “I’m leaving.” I did never called from that time. I have been negotiated with Phonak. That’s when I got a phone call from Johan [Bruyneel] and Bill Stapleton [Armstrong's agent] asked me what I did: “You stay or not? - “No, you’ve already said that you were not going to review your proposal on the rise. “So I got a call from Lance telling me that I was not fair and there was no reason they make me a better deal because they already helped me when I ‘ had debts and that I had a penny. Then I told him: “I remain the same salary. If you do not want to pay me my worth, you’ll treat me like I was worthless. “At this point, given what happened on the Tour and the charge of having driven too hard in Alpe d’Huez, and stuff like that, I did not anyway intention to stay. Lance called me again later. In my opinion, they had to because I think they knew that my decision was already taken: “OK,” he said, “It’s something we never do, but we will offer you the same rate as men.”No,” I replied, “you told me you did not want. I’m not staying. “That was the end of my relationship with Lance.
Okay. Given your ambition to win the Tour, given what you know about Lance and his influence within the UCI and because you had worked with Ferrari in a doping program, do you- not you ask how you would do if you give up this program, if you break these links and if you push them to end. How were you successful? Have you really thought through the consequences?
Yes, absolutely, and I wondered how I would do … not me, but how they would do them for myself. At that time, I saw that all I needed was a few blood transfusions and some anabolic [steroids]. I knew I could get well enough alone and that I could train enough without taking other weird stuff. That was all it took me until 2004 and was very good in 2004. At almost exactly, I had achieved my best. And I knew if I could improve myself just a little bit, I’d be strong enough to win. I no longer really need the advice of Ferrari and I had in my possession a number of other information from it. My main concern was: Will you ask the UCI to handle something or do something against me? And when nothing happened in 2005, I never am more concerned because at that time I thought my career was no longer going to last very long anyway because of my hip.
At what point did you realize you have a problem with hip [AVN]?
That’s the other thing that happened in 2004, two weeks after telling the U.S. Postal I would not run for them, Tyler [Hamilton] has tested positive and began to wonder if Phonak would simply exist [because of the benefits of positive control of Hamilton]. They came to me and told me I was free to go. That’s when I got a call from the U.S. Postal offering me the same contract to return – even after the exchange I had with them, they still wanted me to sign. At that time – I think it was the same day – I went for a check to my hip and I was told it would not take more than one or two years. Suddenly, he had to make a decision: what was the team that had the greatest chance of being able to pay? To talk of this hip problem? I had already signed a contract with Andy Rihs [Phonak boss] know that I had this problem, so I did not have to tell him. Otherwise, I could return to the U.S. Postal where I knew I would have the protection of the UCI, I would be paid and they would ask me no questions about my hip. I had surgery and five days later I flew to Switzerland, where I was to meet Andy Rihs. I spoke at length with him. I liked the man, from what I was told it was a man who could be trusted and I knew that when his team was in, it was paid for sure. If I returned to the U.S. Postal, I knew I had to swallow my pride. It was something I did not and so I decided to sign. After I’m mostly concerned about me because I had to recuperate after the operation. It took me almost a whole year to get there. I have not weighed in the spring races and they [U.S. Postal] did not concern me. On the Tour, there was some kind of [bad] behavior, but not much because I think they had decreased [doping] that year because the team as a whole does was not as strong and they had nine riders not able to fool everybody and win. Then he [Armstrong] is gone. He hung up and I thought there was little chance he pulls the strings once gone. I thought he would leave without looking back – it was what I thought – and, afterwards, I did more because of worries at all. At this point, I started to talk more to Johan and I had a better relationship with him. The situation has improved throughout the 2006 season, but I never returned after 2004 Lance, that’s for sure.
This Tour 2005 was the seventh victory of Armstrong. He made a speech on the Champs-Elysees: “It’s a dream podium on which I stand. Jan [Ulrich] is an exceptional and it is an intractable opponent. Ivan [Basso], well, you’re really hard to beat. You’re a friend and maybe you are the future of the race in the coming years. “You do not mention.
No problem. We were not friends then, but I know he knew I could work hard and I was as good a cyclist as he.
Later in the same speech he said: “I want to send a message to people who do not believe in cycling, the cynics, skeptics, I’m sorry for you. I’m sorry you can not make dreams and I am sorry that you did not believe in miracles. This race is a hell, this is a great sporting event and you should believe in these athletes and you should believe in these people. I’m a fan of the Tour de France as I live. It is no secret that the sporting event and it’s harder when you work hard you can win it. Vive le Tour [in the speech in French (translator's note)] for ever. “So it is no secret?
What he meant by “it is no secret,” … there is a parallel world where the fans see what they have before their eyes. They love this world as they imagine, and on the other hand there are the bunch who knows the real story. Therefore, it is no secret in the peloton, management, the UCI and all parties having a financial interest in cycling.That’s how he justified what he said. To some extent, one could say the same for me.
What did you think when you heard what he said?
I do not remember thinking anything in particular. At that time, I knew the facts and I knew that everything he said, including this speech was addressed to those outside who were watching. For me as for the rest of the pack, it was agreed that the blabber.
Where were you two weeks later, when the team headlined “The Armstrong Lie” and indicated that six of its frozen samples from the 1999 Tour de France showed that he had used EPO?
I’m pretty sure I was back in California. You’ll probably find it difficult to believe, but really, I was not surprised that Steve Johnson [president of USA Cycling] defended. This confirmed to me that, whatever happens, he was always protected.
How did you handle your doping in 2005? The article in the Wall Street Journal says: “Mr. Landis said he had hired a Spanish doctor in Valencia to make transfusions and had paid 10,000 dollars a person to make two separate deliveries of blood bags 500 ml during the Tour de France 2005. ”
In 2004, the U.S. Postal got rid of Luis Garcia Del Moral, who was the team doctor, and I knew he was often in charge of logistics transfusions and that sort of stuff. So I contacted him and asked him if he would do it for me. I paid for it.
Del Moral you paid?
Market? Yes, why I was not as strong in 2005 than in 2004 or 2006, I had been operated during the winter and I could not walk for several weeks. It took me a while to get back in shape. Doping or not, it would not change anything. I did the same thing in 2004, 2005 and 2006, the only difference is that I had my hip problems, care and stuff.In fact, for each tour, I did exactly the same volume of blood transfusions, except the first . For this first tour, I had a transfusion of 500 ml and for the next four, 1 000 ml each time. I made three times in 2006 because it was easier to maintain the same blood parameters, which were controlled. But finally, I transfused the same total volume … Yes, Del Moral, even if he denies having ever witnessed doping, like everyone else, he has indeed practiced.
Okay. So the 2006 Tour de France looming, Lance retired from sports, you are now established as a serious competitor and you became a star in its own right. How did you feel?
In some ways, it was not comfortable, but I knew that my hip would not last forever and that there was a strong likelihood that once replaced … well, I do not know if I still can run. As a result, I have always been perfectly aware that it was something temporary and that everything was nice in this area would not last forever, but I liked it. It allowed me to be well treated, and the pressure on you to win is strong, but it does not bother me … Yes, it was good, but most of the time, I was training to be or I was fully focused on the Tour de France. I did not go the rock stars and that sort of thing. I was focused on the Tour. A point is all.
What does having money has changed for you? Are you turned it?
No, I did not spend more money than before. I have not changed. I have not bought any big car …
Yes, I know it looks like a sign of wealth, but in fact I bought it – and maybe it’ll amuse you – because in 2005 and 2006, they began to multiply controls anti-doping out of competition. I bought it because I could put it in the garage and wear a helmet and a black scarf over the lower face. Max, who was my brother-in that time, I always followed in my car during training. I told him to go see if there was nobody outside, and he told me there was someone I was riding on the Harley and I was spinning.
Excuse me, but I do not understand.
If there was someone who came for a check while I was home, I could go to the garage, put on my helmet, put on my scarf and jacket and go away on a motorcycle. He could tell it was me, but I could deny it by saying that I did not know at all what he meant. By cons, if he saw me go, he could be accused of evading control myself. That’s why I bought it. I did almost never used.
That’s why you bought it?
Yes (laughs). It was all the salt to put in the magazine. It’s pathetic, I should not even laugh because I was pulling no satisfaction and no pleasure in taking those risks. I guess some people like to share this risk. I do not.
No, it was just something practical … I had to do that … I had to come. It was stressing me more than it amused me. No, it does not please me.
How did you imagine that?
He had to think about everything. There were things I had to manage. I had to manage my workouts, I was careful not to take me on a check out of competition and competing.It was really nothing that might be detectable, so …
In 2005, did you do a blood transfusion that has gone wrong?
Have you ever had a transfusion that has gone wrong?
Not to my knowledge. Sometimes they seemed more effective than other times … but you still have to come clean on doping. We arrived in the press that doping gives you an advantage of 40%, but everything that happens in cycling without doping in cycling comes with doping: there are always good and bad days and all other variables. Maybe once you do not sleep well, another time, you did not well fed, another time you have a good day, again one day “without”. Whenever we talk about doping, it is given all that happened, but in reality it would happen anyway without doping. It changes only the differential between the speed at which you drive and that you would be rolled without doping. I do not know the report. This is not 40% but it does help. It is indisputable that it helps.
2006 is your best season, you win Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia and Tour of California.You’re one of the favorites of the Tour de France. The race starts in Strasbourg in the context of Operation Puerto and the exclusion of several riders, including Ullrich and Basso. What was your feeling at that time?
Frankly, I seriously considered quitting. I am really came to tell me that I would not take risks, but after thinking about it, I told myself this: the fact that it is now public and that came out this way does not change the way that people have. It will not change the way the UCI manages these things. They are the ones that cover everything and they will not suddenly discover the pot to the roses. I thought that the risks were the same as for other tours. That was my analysis and I think that is what happened. I did not feel that something extraordinary occurred; there were no raids or changes in how it managed the UCI. Still, I considered not get into all that because there was a possibility that the UCI says: “This is an opportunity. We burn everything and start from scratch.And then I told myself that if they did that and if they were to control samples in search of old-enhancing drugs they could not detect before there was any chance that I’m taken anyway and, if so, why not try to win after all? It was not easy to weigh the risks, but I came to the conclusion that they were not much greater than before. So I took the risk and I did as planned.
What about the logistics of storage and transportation of blood?
It’s not that complicated. We must keep just above the freezing point and the most simple, if you do not have a specific medical refrigerator, which was my case, is to refrigerate a large container filled with ice water . While there are ice cubes in water, water is still above zero. And just leave the bag inside. There is no need for medical equipment. The only thing that is difficult to obtain, it is the blood bags, but I could have with the Spaniards [teammates] or del Moral or others. When you do, everything you need is water and ice.
Where did you make taking blood for this Tour?
In Spain, in my apartment.
Have you taken the blood bags with you or have you given someone?
I gave them to someone else. I can not tell you the name of that person because I gave it to authorities so they can say … there are names I do not want to mention until the authorities have not done what ‘they have to do.
When did you performed the transfusions?
I made it the evening before the first mountain stage, then … Here’s what I did. I could not start the Tour with a hematocrit level too high. So I waited for the blood tests early and the night before the prologue, I made a transfusion of 300 ml, which allowed me to start with a hematocrit level to 44. It could vary a little, but it would not be a problem even if I checked shortly after. Then I made another the night before the first mountain stage, where I took the yellow jersey, and I made another one before the first Alpine stage. It’s easier to do before the difficult stages because more effort is intense, the numbers are naturally low because of stress hormones and stuff … If I looked at the course profile, I could tell you. Send me questions by e-mail and I can tell you precisely because I have all noted somewhere.
So you take the yellow jersey in the Pyrenees in the Aran Valley, you lose the benefit of Pereiro two days later, you head back to Alpe d’Huez, lose the next day in La Toussuire and you go back to again the next day when ridden epic to Morzine. You submit to doping control at the end of the stage and we discover traces of testosterone in your sample. Where is she? I read she was in a transfusion.
It is assumed that many people have issued. At that time, I could not defend myself because I could not say: “That’s time I did the transfusion and at this point that the positive control occurred. But when they analyzed samples B with other tests, the pattern of positive samples could in no way be linked to transfusions. It made no sense.The complexity of the test was such that they could accuse someone without really checking what they had done. This lab … They are probably right tests, but the results they had found absolutely no sense. They never really identified testosterone. What’s really amazing is that … I actually took the testosterone the previous year – had taken a testosterone cream during the race – I had been checked and nothing was left. It was at that time I told myself that even if I boost as far as I inject the products. Testosterone was easier to take, but growth hormone worked better.
What do you mean by “worked better”?
The effect was better. These hormones have a delayed effect. It’s not like taking amphetamines or a drug where the difference is felt immediately, he must really be careful because the differences are slight. Some are anabolic effect more quickly than others, some cause more water retention at home, growth hormone did not give me the feeling of stiffness or swelling in relation to testosterone. In addition, there was absolutely no risk [detection] with growth hormone, apart from the fact of having physically in the body. That’s why I decided to do that. USADA [the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] asked me to try to bring the checks with what happened. Personally, I do not want to criticize them, neither they nor WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency], because I really believe that there are homes of people trying to do well, but I remain convinced that if we want to establish a regime of strict liability and make people responsible for everything that is in their body, it is preferable that everything is fully developed. I actually used testosterone during the period before the Tour and I know the speed of elimination I know more today on how the carbon isotope test. I know more now about the duration of the change in delta in the isotope of carbon, its degradation over time, yet I can not establish any link with a blood transfusion. To me, it just does not make sense.
Okay. Go back and analyze what happened in the race. So you made up this fantastic Morzine, you win the 17th stage without you grab the yellow jersey.
Yes, it’s quite fair.
You’ve taken the penultimate step in the cons-the-clock. Is that correct?
So there is still pressure from the time trial … Nothing is settled yet, ultimately.
No, not really, but I was fairly sure of my shot … I knew Pereiro and I knew he would not try something he had not tried it yet, so … I told him about it and told me he still had to do a blood transfusion, but it does not bother me because I was anyway better than him in against the clock …
You talked to him?
Yes, we talked about freely in the bunch, so I did not imagine that nobody else has done before me. Really, we talked quite freely. He had a blood transfusion and some of hemoglobin synthesis.
Not at all. And then, he pushes me under the bus (laughs) and I must accept it for four years!
Yep. Simple as that.
(He laughs.) It’s a stupid story. A long stupid story.
And the U.S. Postal? They do not go telling everyone they were transfused. Neither Armstrong.
Oh, everyone knew it. We talked quite openly. Maybe not Armstrong, but the other riders, though. I remember a specific episode. I think it was in 2003. We had a blood transfusion last night. If we do not just right, forgetting to properly maintain it and support it, [it leaves a mark / bruise] is a much bigger needle. [Next day] during the race, Michael Boogerd came to my height and he showed me my arm, smiling and giving me a wink before showing me his own arm, as if to say: “I the same thing! ”
I’m surprised, although I should not be, so this is implausible. When Contador was caught recently, there were people like Basso and Schleck who supported him.
Yes, everything is the problem exactly. Pereiro has denied saying that I had stolen [the Tour]. Yet he was guilty, too.
Yes, it’s even worse.
I do not know if it’s worse, but it was harder to deal with for me. What can I say? Hell, I do not know. In my opinion, they should say is this: “Well, nobody will be punished, but tell us what the hell is that? “That’s what I suggested to USADA and WADA. Why does not exonerate anyone and try to know the truth? But they did not want.
To me, you’ve admitted you dopiez, or you were doped during the Tour, during the press conference where you were asked about those who had taken part in Operation Puerto . The fact that you dodged questions for me has been revealing.
I’m sure it was revealing, but I really did not lie. I remember those questions. I remember being asked about it and trying not to answer directly. Then, after testing positive, I found myself in a position where I had to meet and where I had a decision to make: what should I do now?
OK. We will return in a moment, but will first on the Champs-Elysees: Floyd Landis is the third American in history to win the Tour de France. President Bush has called you?
Yes, shortly after the end of the stage. I returned to the hotel before dinner.
Armstrong has called you?
I think I spoke to Armstrong. I do not remember exactly what he told me, yes …
How did you celebrate your victory?
Phonak and Andy Rihs had organized a reception and had rented a restaurant and full bar. We had invited most of the sponsors and friends of the team. There must be at least 150 people. They presented a video of the Tour and different videos, then we had dinner and people getting up to make a little speech and it was very nice. We’re probably not out of there before one or two o’clock in the morning. It may be that some have extended the evening, but I was tired and I returned to the hotel, as is my habit.Normally, after the Tour de France, some people like to go out but me, once I unplugged it’s over, I feel tiredness into me. Dr. Kay [his friend, Dr. Brent Kay] had arrived by plane in the morning to attend the stage and stayed for the reception with a number of my friends. David and Rose were there, they flew back to the United States the next day with Ryan. This is the last time I saw David alive. There.
Amber Is Back in the U.S.?
No, Amber stayed and she followed me in Holland for the criterium. We had to stay a week before making his way back. We stayed about three days before the news and we went directly to Paris by car, where Andy Rihs has joined us with his lawyers.
OK. Let’s step back just a little … You Stiphout disputing a criterium on Tuesday night?
Yes, that’s it.
So on Wednesday morning that you heard the news.
How did you learn?
I was in my room. Amber and me, we occupied a suite with conference room, lounge and bedroom. Shortly after getting up and taking breakfast, I received a phone call from John Lelangue. He called me from his room: he had come on criteriums to relax a little.”Floyd, I must speak to you,” he said. “I can come into your room? “His voice was trembling and seemed really distraught. I immediately knew there was something wrong at all. It had been two years since I knew I’d never felt so worried. “What’s wrong?”And he repeated:” I must speak to you. I come to your room. “I hung up the phone. I was petrified. I knew what he would say.
Did you know?
Yes, I knew right away.
Yes, just because the tone of his voice. In all my life, I never heard anyone so stressed.I knew it was about doping and Phonak. My only hope was that it was not me, but in my heart I knew it was me because otherwise he would have told me over the phone. He came into the room. He was distraught. His hands trembled. We entered directly into the conference room and closed the door. He said immediately: “Floyd was a positive control in the team. “Who? “I asked. He said: “You. “I had to sit down. He sat at the table in front of me. “For what? “I do not know,” he replied. “Martina’s office called me.They have received a fax. ”
That’s what you said: “For what? ”
Yes, because I knew what I did and I thought maybe it was because of that I used cortisone for my hip. I thought they had been mistaken in supporting the administration.That was what I clung.
Because you had an exemption for the use of cortisone?
Yes. “I do not know,” he said, “but I must have the fax. They will send it. At that time, I especially wanted to be alone, but I did not have that option for several weeks. I returned to the lounge. I did not want to talk to Amber but she saw me, she realized that something was wrong and I had no choice. I sat beside her on the couch and I told him that I had tested positive. She started crying and asked me how it happened. I tried to reassure her, but it was difficult. I knew that at the very moment John Lelangue told me “you”, my life was ruined and would never be the same. I was cold, I was covered in sweat and unable to make a decision, but I took it upon myself to promise to Amber that everything would go well for us both and I would do everything necessary for that. It was a feeling that I had ever known and I have never experienced since. I have not been well for a month. I could not get to sleep for at least fifteen days. I lay down without being able to close the eye. The longer this situation drags on, it was more painful and I had trouble making decisions. I could not think calmly.