Tinker Juarez joins the Floyd Landis team

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Floyd Landis is coming back to racing, sort of. Starting next season, his CBD products company Floyd’s of Leadville will sponsor a gravel and mountain bike team, with David “Tinker” Juarez as the star rider.

Landis, 46, rose to prominence as a professional road cyclist, including spending three years with the U.S. Postal Service team from 2002 to 2004, and winning the 2006 Tour de France before being stripped of the title for doping. And he’s already sponsored a cycling team: a few years after founding Floyd’s of Leadville, Landis sponsored a professional continental cycling team for the 2019 season.

Now, almost three years later, Landis is set to return to the racing scene, although this time he opts for gravel cycling and mountain biking.

“I started mountain biking in… 1990, early 1990s. I was a mountain biker and only got into the road around 2000. So for me mountain biking has always been my heart. I was better in road racing for a lot of other reasons, ”said Landis. Ride a bike. “[Road] cycling has always gone through, you know, times when it’s booming and times where it’s, you know, a little dark… the whole model doesn’t really work… I don’t know where the race is going on. road in the United States has seen its ups and downs in the past.

As for gravel cycling, the United States has seen massive growth in the discipline in recent years. Gravel-specific bikes are now produced by almost all major bike brands, causing the proliferation of bike shops and rider garages of all kinds. New races and land events appear every year across the country, with a large turnout. And professional cyclists, past and present, are increasingly engaging in the action of gravel racing.

The growing popularity of gravel cycling is part of what makes it an attractive opportunity for Landis to serve as a racing team sponsor again. But he says the nature of the gravel community is also a real draw.

“When it comes to the company’s marketing strategy, gravel and mountain bike events have a much better atmosphere where you interact with people. Professional road racing is… an event, and you’ve got pros there, and you’ve got people watching, but you don’t have the kind of community of people who are all participating, ”said Landis. “American cycling fans are generally Americans who love to ride a bike. And that’s why this gravel thing is so appealing to them – they can just be part of the mass start, and everyone makes the event and hangs out after. “

Juarez, 60, is a two-time Olympian and seven-time national champion (and member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame). He started BMX at the age of 13, then moved on to cross-country and endurance mountain biking at 25. Then, at 44, he turned to ultra-endurance road racing. Today, Juarez mainly focuses on marathon mountain bike races, and he is still very competitive – he won this year’s UCI Mountain Bike Masters World Championships in his age category.

Juarez at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Mike PowellGetty Images

Juarez was sponsored by Cannondale for 27 years, until last October. When Landis learned that Juarez was without a main sponsor, he eagerly extended his hand.

“I’ve known Tinker for a long time,” Landis said. “He represents something that the sport should aspire to represent, right? He cares, he’s a positive guy, he talks to people, he’s great with the fans, there’s no one better… he’s a real inspiration.

Juarez is delighted to be getting more and more into the gravel.

“I started a few years ago and started to really like it a lot,” Juarez said. Ride a bike. “I’m looking to get more involved. And it looks like it’s really catching on fire when it comes to racing. ”

And Juarez has no plans to retire from competitive cycling anytime soon.

“There are people who always say, ‘I’m 40 and just started riding, and I’m just glad I got to admire you,’” Juarez said. “Been in the sport for as long as I have, is there really a deadline? We all want to stay healthy, and we all want to do something fun… it’s always been a dream of mine to make a living, you know, so now [I’m] always does that. “

Juarez will continue to focus primarily on mountain bike racing, although he will likely dip his toes into more gravel races this coming season.

The rest of the team include: Taylor Lideen, 31, who won the 2021 Unbound XL gravel race; Geneviève Jeanson, 40, a former Canadian professional cyclist who ended her career after a doping suspension; Anne Donley, 44, a decorated road runner; and Victor Cashes, a 22-year-old mountain and gravel bike racer. The team will be led by race director and endurance athlete Paul Thomas, who will also compete in selected events.

Landis will also participate in some events, but he was quick to point out that he will not participate in any case.

“I was overweight and stopped riding for a really long time,” said Landis. “So it’s good for me, it gives me something to train for.” And I like the vibe there. I love talking to people at these events, it’s a really great crowd.

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