So Lance Armstrong has settled Floyd Landis’ whistleblower lawsuit. Armstrong will pay the federal government $5 million dollars. Landis will receive $1M of that and Armstrong will pay $1.65M in legal fees … for Landis.
It’s a mixed result, at best. We won’t suffer through any more eye-glazing court filings from Armstrong’s legal team claiming that the suit has zero merit, lacks jurisdiction or that little green men were responsible for his doping. So the occasional updates of some other outrageous defense strategy meant to delay or derail the prosecution won’t clutter your social media feeds anymore. That part, given that I routinely read such stories with clenched teeth, is a win.
I have to admit the Robin Hoodian redistribution of wealth from Armstrong to Landis is almost as satisfying as a hot Epsom salt bath. While Armstrong will keep the majority of his wealth, that any of it will go to Landis will absolutely burn Tex up. I have to imagine that even with Floyd’s of Leadville giving Landis a fresh career, some of that windfall will get eaten up with old debts, which only makes me wish the amount was bigger.
What irks me about this is that what would have easily been the most interesting story in cycling this year won’t happen. Seeing Armstrong testifying on the witness stand would have been more thrilling than Steven Spielberg’s last three films—combined. I have wanted that for cycling the way I want clean air and water for my kids.
But let’s be honest: Armstrong would have told the truth about everything we already know but would have perjured himself about all the events that we still are trying to parse, and in that, he would have given us a result even less satisfying than this.
There will come a day when we look back on Armstrong’s racing, his relentless pursuit of fitness, his need to crush his opponents, his meticulous preparation, his constant evasion of the truth even after caught, with something approaching nostalgia. This, however, is not that day.
If you value independent media, please lend your support to RKP.
To learn more about our new subscription program, please read this.