Floyd Landis, From Tour De France Disgrace To Leadville Cannabis Entrepreneur

Listen Now
Photo: Floyd Landis
Floyd Landis at the CPR studios Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

Floyd Landis, cannabis entrepreneur, only had a few days to celebrate his victory in the 2006 Tour de France. After a blood test revealed performance enhancing drugs, he was stripped of his title and banned from professional cycling for the rest of his life.

Denying the accusations, ostracized and suffering from a hip injury, he turned to liquor and opioids. Then in 2010, he dropped a bombshell. In a letter to then-USA Cycling Landis not only admitted he’d doped for years, but he went on to implicate former teammate and seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong.

Photo: Floyd Landis Lance Armstrong Tour De France 2004
Lance Armstrong, right, and former teammate Floyd Landis during the 17th stage of the 2004 Tour de France.

As NPR reported, Landis sued Armstrong in 2010, and when Armstrong finally admitted his doping history in 2013, federal prosecutors joined Landis' suit on behalf of the United States Postal Service, which had sponsored the cyclists’ team.

Last week, Armstrong settled with USPS ahead of a scheduled May court date, and part of that settlement means Landis will receive more than $1 million.

Landis spoke with Colorado Matters about the settlement, and also about his new business, a cannabis products venture called Floyd’s of Leadville. He credits the drug with with saving his life. He’s pushing that business in a new direction, touting the benefits of non-psychoactive CBD hemp oil.

Interview Highlights:

Landis on the benefits of marijuana and CBD oil including in his own life as a recovering addict:

"Opiods work, temporarily at least, especially with alcohol. And it's easy to just have a nice warm feeling and go to sleep and forget about it. But at the end of the day, it's addicting and a lot of people don't have, or aren't as fortunate as I was to have, a support group that got me through it and kept me alive. Marijuana was legalized here a few years back, and I've been living in Colorado, so I had used it a few times in my life previously, just recreationally. And you know, I like the feeling. I'm not as big a fan as some people are. From time to time I use it just for entertainment's sake. But for me, it has more value medicinally, just because I do have occasional pain in my hip, and sometimes if there's other anxiety or other stress in life, that makes those things feel worse. CBD has really helped me because it seems to have the same medicinal effect without the psychoactive effect, and I can still go about my day and function. And the two work very well together, synergistically, but CBD on its own has a lot of similar and sometimes even better medicinal effects."

On why professional bicyclists still dope:

"It's still as much of a problem as it's ever been. And for them to pretend that this somehow solved something, that taking down Lance was going to fix it, is disingenuous. For one thing, the technology and humans don't evolve in the eight, 10 years since I've been there. And the speeds that they ride up mountains are the same. And the same people run the teams -- the people that were there when I was there, that were promoting drugs, that were helping to create the doping programs -- are still the very same people running it. And the people at the top, most people don't understand how the Olympics works, but the Olympics oversees a lot of different sports and they oversee cycling, and it's all the same guys at the top. It's just a massive fraud, and it's unfortunate that they take down individual athletes, and destroy their lives over it, knowing full well what's actually going on."

On his relationship with Lance Armstrong:

"I have no problem being civil with him. He and I went through a real public dispute, if you want to call it that. That doesn't generally leave people in a position where they end up friends. But I have no hard feelings. Look, he paid more than anyone else has paid, and he benefited more than anyone else. But I think it's a fair outcome, and I hope he finds happiness. And I hope people treat him with an open mind, and give him a second chance, because I would be hypocritical to say people don't deserve one."

More On Floyd Landis: