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A Pre-Tour Chat with USPS' Floyd Landis
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 7/5/2002
A Pre-Tour Chat with USPS' Floyd Landis
 

Another mtn biker gone to the road, Floyd Landis started his pro road career on the Mercury team (1999-2001), coming from the Chevy Truck mtn bike team (1997). Floyd joined USPS this year.

With victories and solid placing in the US Pro circuit and Europe he earned his berth on the USPS team the old fashioned way.

Some career highlights:
1999 3rd GC Tour de l'Avenir;
2000: 1st, Tour du Poitou-Charentes, 5th stage, 5th overall Tour of Langkawi;
2001: 1st, Boulevard Road Race, 2nd, Stage 3 ITT, 13th overall Criterium International.

Coming off the recent the Dauphiné Libere 2nd overall to his team leader Lance Armstrong and a 3rd stage win in the Tirreno Adriatico, Floyd is on form and ready for the ride of his life. As Johann Bruyneel said in the official press release for this year?s Tour team, "Floyd just finished an impressive second in the Dauphiné and I have a feeling that we have not seen the best of him yet."

On the day before his first Tour de France ride, new USPS team member Floyd Landis answered some questions for the Daily Peloton.

Hello Floyd, and thanks. When did you get contacted by USPS? Did they mention what plans they had for you to fill out the team, I mean more than filling out the podium with Lance? That sure looks good by the way.

FL: I had talked to them the last couple of years. In hindsight, I guess I should have made the switch sooner, but it has still worked out for the best. I know they expect alot of me. I want to prove them right.

This year you started out a little slow, but things got much better for you in May and June...what made the difference? Hard miles? Persistence?

FL: I hadn't raced (in Europe) since June of 2001. So I guess it took awhile to get revved back up. Basically it boils down to days of racing.

Compared to riding as a pro on several teams how is it riding on USPS one of the best cycling teams in the world?

FL: The USPS Team is simply the best organization for me at this stage in my career. They have an awesome staff, some of the strongest, most experienced riders, and our leader, Lance, who expects excellence from himself and those around him. It rubs off, being around a champion all the time.

What are your expectations at the Tour...and what will your role be?

FL: I am here to work for Lance. My role will be to be at his disposal in the mountains, working whatever strategy is needed.

Johan Bruyneel is a legend, what is the boss like to work with?

FL: Johan is extremely experienced and intelligent. He remembers so much about every race he ever rode, the tactics, the terrain.

How much does he involve himself in your training and race preparation?

FL: He advises us on what will be expected of us, effort-wise and results-wise, but he doesn't get involved with HR's and mileage. He just gives advice about what things to expect and we prepare based on a lot of his and the team?s experience.

Do you get the luxury of training for a race or do you have to be ready at a moment?s notice as you described in one of your earlier journals?

FL: Usually my program is well laid-out. The time I think you are refering to was a unique situation. Things don't usually happen like that, but I am ready to go whenver they need me. I was happy they thought to ask of me.

After the tour, do you know if we will see you riding La Vuelta?

FL: It is a possibility; will depend on fatigue, mental and physical.

Is it a race you would like to challenge?

FL: Yes, down the road.

For that matter what pro race have you had a facination with that you would like to target for the future?

FL: Some of the Classics I am drawn to. Also the big ones, Olympics and Worlds.

Your favorite pro race in the USA?

FL: San Francisco GP is a very challenging event. I'd like to do well there.

I think Mountain bike and the skill sets of bike handling and a certain toughness at the pro level gives mtn bikers a bit of an edge on the road. Does this seem true to you?

FL: Yes, to some extent. Handling for sure. Crashes happen no matter what you ride (road or mtb) but for things like riding in the rain, or really pushing it down a descent on the road, it helps. At the Pro level, guys are tough in both sports.

When did you know you were going to make it as a pro?

FL: It is hard to say. I guess when I went to Europe and did the Tour de L'avenir the first time. I got the leader?s jersey and thought, "I can do this!"

What drew you to bike racing in the beginning? Does that still light the passion up for the you today or has it changed to new reasons with the same passion?

FL: Cycling is fun! Riding and training, pushing myself is a challenge I enjoy. I still have the same passion, I am now just more patient.

Any advice for young riders coming up the classes now dreaming of being where you have arrived on the eve of starting the Tour?

FL: Be patient. Have fun. If you go in expecting instant results, prepare to be disappointed. It takes a LONG time to build your strength and experience. Make sure you have fun while you get there.

Anyone you would like to acknowledge for helping you along the way or a message you would like to send to your fans?

FL: I'd definitely like to thank my wife Amber; she is the best and very patient with me, not an easy task. Ryan, my daughter, whom I miss alot. Some awesome friends, David, Rose, Will. The list could get pretty long; I have had a lot of support along the way from some great fans, through thick and thin, which always helps.

Thank you very much, Floyd. "Good legs" and good luck in the Tour. We will all be watching you and hope you have a great ride. Hope we have a chance to chat in the future.

FL: Thanks a lot!

You can find more info on Floyd's website at: http://www.floydlandis.com/

Interview by Manny Samaniego and Vaughn Trevi.


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