Any simmering Chicago Bulls feuds have nothing on Lance Armstrong’s animosity towards former cycling teammate Floyd Landis.
In ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary about his rise and fall, Armstrong says, “It could be worse. I could be Floyd Landis … waking up a piece of s–t every day.”
Is that what he really thinks?
“That’s what I know,” Armstrong said. “I don’t think it. I know it.”
There were tensions between Armstrong and Landis during their careers, but it was Landis’ self-admission of doping and accusations against Armstrong in 2010 that ultimately led to the collapse of Armstrong’s empire as a seven-time Tour de France Champion and American sports icon with sponsorship deals and the Livestrong charity.
Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France win, later filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong. They reached a settlement, with Armstrong reportedly owing $6.65 million to Landis, his attorneys and the government.
“I hope he’s changed, and I hope he finds some peace,” L andis said of Armstrong during the documentary. “I don’t know why people can’t move on, but here we are.”
After ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary about the Bulls, Horace Grant — and allegedly Scottie Pippen — didn’t like how they were portrayed by Michael Jordan.
But Armstrong took it to the next level with his former teammate.
After Armstrong’s “piece of s–t” remarks about Landis were teased in a preview to the documentary, Landis responded on ESPN Radio two weeks ago.
“I have some empathy for him because I went through some real public humiliation and it hurts,” Landis said, according to CyclingWeekly.com. “You want to blame somebody and sometimes it’s easier to find the most obvious thing or person and blame them. He can blame me. Maybe it would still be a secret if it wasn’t for me.
“I had to come clean. He’s obviously not happy about that. I hope he finds some peace in his life. I don’t have any further animosity towards him.”
Landis admittedly was angry at being cast as the fall guy in a sport where performance-enhancing drug use was rampant at the time. Armstrong claims he began doping in 1995 and continued after his bout with testicular cancer through 2005.
“Lance didn’t invent doping,” Landis said in the documentary. “It wasn’t his idea.”