The Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team has signed Floyd Landis.
“I’ve known Floyd since I was 15,” team manager Steve Owens told VeloNews. “We grew up racing bikes, racing juniors together, mountain bikes. If he’s a motivated boy, he’s unstoppable.”
The Bahati Foundation team is centered around former national criterium champion Rahsaan Bahati, who grew up in Compton, California. Besides the race team, the Bahati Foundation is promoting its education and music grants. Landis said in a press release that he signed on in part to help with the Foundation’s multi-pronged mission.
“Cycling has given me so many opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have had, and I look forward to helping provide the same opportunities for less fortunate kids,” Landis said in the release.
Besides the industry sponsors of Cannondale Bicycles and Colorado Premier Training (of which team manager Owens is the CEO), the Bahati Foundation lists real estate and law firms as sponsors. The Foundation also is requesting donations.
The team also recently signed Josh Berry of Portland, Oregon.
Racing in stock Louis Garneau clothing, the Bahati Foundation team got off to a strong start this weekend at the Merco Credit Union Cycling Classic. Although not an NRC event, thethree-event weekend served as the first face off for many of the national pro teams, including UnitedHealthcare (formerly OUCH), Bissell, Jelly Belly and others.
“Officially our first race is San Dimas. That’s where we really want to shine,” Owens said. “But going 1-2-3 in the Merced crit was pretty cool.”
Over the course of two days in mid-February this year, the French anti-doping agency claimed an “international warrant” had been issued for Landis’ arrest for allegedly hacking into an anti-doping lab’s computer system, Landis’ adviser Arnie Baker said he offered to talk to the French authorities but no one took him up on his offer, and USADA witness Joe Papp – who had testified against Landis in 2007 – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute HGH and EPO.
On Tuesday, March 2, an updated Web site was unveiled, with the homepage story titled “Fraud, Lies, and Corruption – See How They Convicted An Innocent Man.”
His biography page on the site concludes with this statement: “Landis underwent hip resurfacing surgery … and returned to professional cycling with Team OUCH in 2009, becoming the first professional cyclist to return to top level competition with an artificial joint. After 20,000 miles of cycling last year with his new hip, Landis now looks to regain his title as World’s Greatest Cyclist and, once again, inspire the world to greater heights in ‘classic’ American style!”
At the end of last season, Team OUCH’s parent company Momentum Sports Group (MSG) and Landis agreed to terminate their two-year contract (2009-2010). At the time, OUCH released a statement saying that, “For the 2010 season, Landis expressed to MSG that he desires to ride the longer, tougher stage races offered in Europe and internationally that better suit his strengths. Accordingly, given that MSG will be focusing its 2010 racing season primarily in the United States, MSG and Landis mutually agreed that it would be best for both parties to part ways at this time and allow Landis to seek a position with a team that could better accommodate his desires.” In the press release Landis thanked his sponsors and “everyone at Momentum Sports Group.”
This year, Landis has already done a few races. He won the time trial at the Tour of Bahamas in January, he got second at the local Boulevard Road Race in San Diego, and he placed second overall at the Callville Bay Classic in Nevada, where he donated his prize money to charity.
Floyd Landis won the 2006 Tour de France, but was later disqualified after a French anti-doping lab reported that he tested positive for synthetic testosterone during the race. Landis has disputed the findings ever since.