Would You Ride With A Celebrity Doper?

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Add Floyd Landis to the growing list of convicted and/or admitted dopers who have gotten into the gran fondo business. Landis, who won the 2006 Tour de France only to lose the title to a positive doping test and subsequent suspension, is joining forces with Anthem Sports to co-promote the two-day Gran Fondo Catskills Cycling Weekend in New York’s Catskills Mountain, June 1-2.

The event will kick off with the three-mile Devil’s Kitchen Hill Climb on Saturday, and conclude with Sunday’s 100-mile Gran Fondo Catskills in and around Windham, New York. Final rider rankings will be based on the hill climb competition and various timed segments on the gran fondo course, with overall age-group champions being crowned at the end of the event at Hunter Mountain Resort. Entry fee is $100.

Landis joins Levi Leipheimer (Levi’s GranFondo), George Hincapie (Gran Fondo Hincapie), Tom Danielson (Everyone Rides), and Lance Armstrong (Ride for the Roses) among past and current pro cyclists who’ve done a turn as gran fondo or charity ride ambassadors, and whose names have been tainted by illicit doping use.

In an interview with Fredrick Dreier for USA Today, Landis explained that the new event was about interacting with recreational cyclists, not restoring his image. “This is about using whatever association people have with me to create an event where people can have a good time,” Landis told USA Today. “Other than that, I’m finished with cycling. I have no interest in being a public figure in cycling.”

Motives aside, this event and others like it raise an interesting ethical dilemma. With the national amateur cycling events calendar growing every year, will an event’s association with an admitted sports cheat influence consumer buying decisions?

Clearly, Anthem Sports is banking that it wont. The promotion company behind the wildly popular Tour of the Battenkill believes Landis’ candor about doping in pro cycling, and the fact that he fingered Lance Armstrong as a cheat will outweigh any bad press.

“Floyd was the first guy to come out,” Anthem Sports director Dieter Drake told USA Today. “Some might view that as a bad PR move, but I think he’ll end up being on the right side of history.”

The new event will be held in Greene County, site of Landis’ last race in North America, the 2010 Tour of the Catskills. “Greene County is elated to have Anthem Sports continue to host cycling races in the Great Northern Catskills,” said Warren Hart, Greene County Director of Tourism and Planning. Online registration for the new event opens February 22, and you can find more details about lodging, sponsorship, and expo opportunities at www.greatamericancycling.com.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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  • hummina shadeeba says:

    as long as Floyd is trying to win it. He’s there cause he’s fast, I want to see it. Or else if he has my ear the whole ride and he tells it like it was.

  • Grumpy ol' Rider says:

    I had to think about this for a long time. I’m not a racer. As kid, I worked on the farm, and my 40Lb Schwinn was my only form of transportation. I could never have afforded a racing bike, even if there was anyone around to encourage me. Now, I’m a recreational rider, who likes nothing better than to get out on a Saturday morning and ride 50 to 60 miles. Would I ride with a doper? NO. I looked up to these guys, and was let down, way down. Those of you who argue that, “they all do it,” miss the point. Lance, Floyd, and the rest can really just ride off a tall cliff as far as I’m concerned.

    • Mick says:

      I’m with you Grumpy ol’ Rider. A very talented friend of mine, a world championship medal winner, was effectively denied a good living by those who doped. Why? Because he wouldn’t go down that route. Doping is not victimless. We seem to live in an age where there are inadequate consequences to breaking the rules, be that the laws of the land or sport. Banishment from anything to do with the sport sends out a message that if you cross the line there is no way back. Yes Landis coughed but I doubt his motives were altruistic. I love bike racing but am left feeling that all I ever believed in was a fraud. I can no longer look at the great Alpine escapes of years gone by for inspiration whilst riding my turbo without thinking, “He was obviously juiced up to the eyeballs.”

  • jeff says:

    I don’t think I’d ride with Floyd if he paid me, what a douche!

  • Jerry C. says:

    The better question is: Why would roadbikereview editorialize with a headline such as “Would you ride with a Celebrity doper?” The headline is obnoxious and manipulative. Wouldn’t the media serve the public better without pushing their opinion and simply serve the news instead? We can form our own opinions without being pushed.

  • rainwatrs@gmail.com says:

    Using this kinda crap to up your view count is subhuman tacky.

  • John says:

    I believed the guy when he denied doping which says something about my judgment. Still, I’d ride with him if he slowed way down so I could keep up.

  • Nate says:

    You should rephrase the question to “Would you ride with an ex-pro who unfortunately was one of the guys actually caught for doping and raked through the coals?”

    What is the difference between riding with a current pro doper who has not been caught vs. riding with one who has? They are both guilty.

    Anyone who follows pro cycling knows that even today with the bio passport, these guys are still using PEDs. To think otherwise in nothing less than naive.

    Yes, I would ride with an “ex doper”. Do I think it is ok to cheat to win? Nope. But it is what it is and these guys have been doped for the last 100 years. Fact.

  • Ribble Rules says:

    No. Most pro cyclists, clean or not. are boring as whale shit. I’d rather have coffee with Charles Manson. At least he could provide interesting conversation.

  • Sebo says:

    Sure, if you didn’t cheat you didn’t try hard enough” and lance is double winner not only in cycling but also in cheating, never got cut with tests…Only shows you that those that test are cheating too or… Got convicted by testimony of other cheater… not by evidence of drug test, they should remove drug tests and let people testify….
    Play hard or go home…

  • BINNY says:

    Doping was (any maybe still is) a highly organized activity in the pro peleton. So the convicted cheats are more or less unlucky rather than morally evil. That said, I wouldn’t mind riding with one.

  • jerome says:

    NEVER !!!!

    Moral and Ethic are what define our societies
    Whitout them we are Nothing !!!! Remember it !!! and keep it in mind !
    Instant pleasure won’t get you and us very far !

    Thank you General George Washington

    L. Armstrong should have think twice and learn a bit more.

  • zeeno says:

    No, but I would ride any day with the true heroes of the pro peloton, the nobodies that truely don’t dope if there is any.

  • Arturo says:

    No!! Landis is pond scum, a self admitted cheat who blames everyone for his issues, sold out everyone and has no morals. Why support this guy when there are tons of deserving causes?

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