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There is a video on YouTube of Landis in the summer of , sitting on a small stage, taking questions from some employees at Google. This would have been around Peak Lie, when Landis was still claiming innocence with an assurance in his voice and a knot in his stomach.
Twelve months on from the failed drugs test which stained his stunning Tour de France win, the lie had consumed him. It was like he was chasing a ball he could never quite catch, running further and further into the abyss. Landis takes a moment to clear his throat and wring his hands. Those first few years in the sport racing was the best time of my life, and I take satisfaction from helping guys do that. When I look back I kind of regret [the lawsuit].
Nothing ever came of it. He believes the sport is no more trustworthy than it ever was, and the pitfalls that he fell down are still the same threats facing young riders starting out their careers in his team. But if you get caught with a motor in your bike, what are you supposed to say?
As he talks, it is striking just how open and candid he seems in comparison to the falling champion who fidgeted in his seat and lied through his teeth as the walls began to close in. But I try not to listen because it reminds me of those days. Would he go on the podcast if he was invited? I would go on and sit face to face with him. It would probably be really interesting if it ever happened. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.
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