Floyd Might Not Race This Year
(pic from floydlandis.com)
Floyd Landis is not very optimistic about riding professionally again in 2007. The long process of trying to clear his name from the positive drug test in the Tour de France is making the possibility of getting on a Pro team this year look very bleak. Even if he is cleared of the drug charges from the Tour then he would face the process of getting on another team. The only prospect so far has been the Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle (cyclingnews story) who sport some funky argyle color patterns.
Team Slipstream is a US Based Continental team. They have plans to ride in Europe, but they are not a Top 20 Pro Tour team meaning that a ride with the Chipotle powered squad means no invite to the Tour.
In this latest interview at ESPN Landis discusses the case that seems to be dragging so long that even Christian Prudomme (Tour de France Director) has been saying it is time to get on with it.
“Right now,” he said, “I want to believe that the right thing will happen and we’ll get a fair hearing, as long as it takes.” — Floyd Landis
Under USADA rules, the athlete’s hearing is supposed to be held within three months of the panel being selected, but Henson said that Landis’ legal team has asked for an extension of that time to deal with discovery issues.
“We feel the legal process athletes have to go through is fundamentally unfair,” Henson said. “In order for Floyd to get due process, it’s going to take longer than we originally thought.”
Landis started the Floyd Fairness Fund to partially help pay his legal costs, but to also help other athletes in the future. Floyd’s costs are staggering as he is burning through $100k per month.
The Pennsylvania native said he is spending more than $100,000 a month on expenses related to his case. He recently started a legal defense fund in an effort to raise the $2 million he estimates he might need by the time the process concludes.
The Landis case seems to highlight how broken the drug testing and enforcement process is at his point. Looking at cycling and the various newspaper reports, positive drug tests and unproven cases it just look like a mess.