The Unusual Story of Floyd Landis
The new position as team leader makes him nervous.
Last year Floyd Landis helped Lance Armstrong win the 2004 Tour de France. His athletic qualities are as well known among riders as his coarse comments. Nevertheless, the American is not as relaxed going into this year's Tour de France as it may appear.
Floyd Landis has learned a lot from Lance Armstrong, who is going for his seventh Tour de France win this year. "He's done a lot for everyone on his team and for the sport of cycling. We were able to learn while being part of his team and now have a chance to establish ourselves. At Phonak - as with my previous employer - we work at a top level. Only here, there's not so much pressure. Lance Armstrong always had just one goal: victory."
Happy being able to share responsibility
Although it's a dream for him to kick off the 2005 Tour de France in his current position, Floyd Landis nervously approached the start of the year's biggest cycling race. It's not just all the travel and the stress associated with it. It's also the new role of entering the race as one of the team leaders that is making Landis slightly insecure. The American has no doubt about the quality of the team, but still he's happy being able to share the responsibility with teammates Santiago Botero and Oscar Pereiro. In the past he helped Armstrong conquer mountains. Now, is he looking forward to the support of his teammates in the mountains? "I hope they'll pull me along," he replies with a hearty laugh.
From mountain bike to road racing
Floyd Landis's story is the most unusual of the nine Tour de France riders on the Phonak team. He grew up with Mennonites and first used a bike for going fishing. But with the arrival of testosterone, fishing became irrelevant. As a 17-year-old teenager, Landis began racing together with his high school friends. "My friend had a mountain bike, and of course I wanted to try it out." In 1991, he won his first race in Brickerville. After that, he knew that he wanted to become a professional rider. Six years after his first off-road race, Landis switched to road racing. Today, he only rides a mountain bike in winter for pleasure. "Road races are more exciting."
A very normal family life
Today, Landis lives together with his wife, Amber, and his eight-year-old daughter, Ryan, in