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Lance Armstrong | Moral Choices | 3

Lance Armstrong | Moral Choices | 3

Tue, 04 May 2021 09:00

Greg LeMond struggles to find allies in his fight against Lance Armstrong. Floyd Landis is caught in a difficult position, one that forces him to take a big risk.

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It's the summer of 2004 in Medina, Minnesota. The night has gotten late, but Greg Lemon can't fall asleep. He's in bed tossing and turning his mind spinning. And when he glances at his clock, he groans. It's even later than he thought. Lemon lies on his back and stares at the ceiling of his bedroom. He realizes he's not going to fall asleep anytime soon. It's going to be yet another sleepless night. So instead of suffer through that, it's time to get up and get some fresh air. Lemon slides out of bed and his wife Kathy suddenly stirs. Lemon freezes. He hopes he didn't wake her up. But she doesn't move again. Lemon knows he's in the clear. So he tiptoes out of the bedroom. As he walks through his house, he steps out onto the patio, where he breathes in the cool night air. It's calm out here, much calmer than in his racing mind. And it makes him frustrated, because it's been like this for days. Lemon has not been able to stop thinking about an interview he's about to give on ESPN, the sports television channel. He's a legend of professional cycling, but he's about to go on TV to share some troubling information about his sport. It involves Lance Armstrong and doping. Lemon knows that when he gives the interview, he could ruin people's lives if he's not careful with his words. That's why he keeps planning ahead when he should be sleeping. Lemon hears footsteps moving through the house and then the door opens. His wife Kathy stands in the doorway. Oh, what's going on, Greg? You couldn't sleep again? Now, not tonight. What is on your mind? Kathy, you know what's on my mind. The interview? Yes, the interview. Kathy steps out onto the patio and shuts the door. Greg, don't think about it now. It's late. Think about that stuff is not going to help. You've got to sleep. Well, that's easier said than done. I just can't stop thinking about what I'm going to say when I'm actually in front of the cameras. Well, what are you worried about? You know you're going to be fine. No, there's no guarantee about that. Not when it comes to national TV. Okay. Well, look, you're not sleeping and that means I'm not sleeping. So let's get through this. Here, I'll pretend to be the ESPN guys. You be you. Let's talk it through and then maybe we can go to bed. Lemon grins it as wife. It may be the middle of the night, but she's still clever and playful. No, no, Kathy. Just go back inside. I'll be there soon. No, no, Greg, you're a disaster. And I'm not playing around. Let's do this. Kathy, Greg Lemon, you're on ESPN. Tell us the truth about Lance Armstrong. Honey, Greg Lemon, are you avoiding the question? What's the full story with doping and cycling today? Okay. Well, look, the proof is out there. Lance Armstrong, he's a fraud. He dopes. And that's how he's managed to win the tour to France over and over. That's a big accusation. What's your proof? Well, for one, Lance trained with Dr. McCaley Ferrari. He's one of the most infamous dopers in the world. After that, Lance was accused of using steroids and other performance and hunting drugs. If Lance was clean, why does he keep finding himself at the center of these kind of allegations? But Greg, surely you know, those are just accusations. Damn, huh? Well, I spoke with Lance on the phone. He said that everyone in cycling used EPO, everyone. And then he threatened me. He doesn't like that I spoke out that I questioned his honesty. And he told me, I could find 10 people who will say you took EPO. And did you? No, no, of course not. But the fact is Lance Armstrong is a liar. And he's a bully. And he's trying to end my relationship with Trek, the bike company. But it's more than that is personal. People like Lance have made the entire sport dirty. That's why we need to finally talk about this. Kathy stairs at Le Mans, and then she smiles and nods. Well, there you go, Greg. You said the right thing. Just do that on TV. You'll be fine. Now, I'm going back to bed. And you should too. All right, I promise I will. Soon. The door shuts as Kathy steps back into the house. And for a while, Le Mans gathers out at the night sky. He knows his wife is right. He should go on ESPN and say everything that he said tonight. But Le Mans also knows that doing the right thing is complicated. Cycling does need to be cleaned up. But Le Mans worries that if he speaks out, he could damage the lives of other cyclists. Their athletes, just like he was, and they're only trying to win in a sport where now you have to use drugs if you want to shot at the title. But for Greg Le Mans, that's the biggest problem. Cycling is now corrupt. And it needs to be fixed. That means Le Mans cannot hold back. He knows he needs to go on TV and tell the world the ugly truth, even if it upends the entire sport. 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When your day should be ending, but a new season is starting, the world is your cart. Visit or download the app and get free delivery on your first order. Offer valid for a limited time minimum order $10 additional terms apply. From Wondry, I'm Lindsey Graham and this is American Scandal. In the early 2000s, Lance Armstrong cemented his status at the greatest cyclist of all time. He became a cultural icon and millions of people around the world wore his yellow live strong bracelets. They were powerful symbols of perseverance and the fight against cancer. But Armstrong also made a number of enemies. There were some like Greg Lamand, the cycling legend who went on TV and raised concerns about Armstrong and Doping. Others felt guilty about their use of performance enhancing drugs and blamed Armstrong for damaging cycling. These critics included people like Floyd Landis, one of Armstrong's former teammates. By the time Armstrong reached his mid 30s, he decided it was time to embark on the next stage of his career. But he didn't realize that he, Lamand and Landis were now on a collision course, one that would forever change the three of their lives. This is episode 3, Moral Choices. It's June 2006 and Lance Armstrong is hurrying through an office park in Bristol, Connecticut. He spots a series of white satellite dishes pointing at the sky. And as he walks toward a building, he sees the logo that's shining in the sun, ESPN. Armstrong continues through the campus, which houses the International Sports Network. And as he heads to the ESPN Studios, he braces himself for what sure to be yet another challenge to his legacy and his livelihood. In just a few moments, Armstrong is going to sit down for an interview with Mike Goliak and Mike Greenberg, the hosts of ESPN Show Mike and Mike. The interview is supposed to cover an easy topic. Armstrong is about to host the Espees and awards ceremony for athletes. Today's interview should be a chance to promote the event. And Armstrong knows it's also a chance to celebrate his incredible career. He's now 34 years old and about a year ago, he retired from cycling after winning the Tour de France and astonishing seven times in a row. It was a huge source of pride for Armstrong and not just because of the victories themselves. Armstrong is proud that he's become an inspiration for the entire world. He nearly died from cancer, but through hard work and perseverance, he still rose to the very top in professional sports. And right now, Armstrong's legacy is also facing a terrible threat. The public is increasingly worried that he's a cheater. Greg Le Mans, the former cyclist, went on ESPN 2 and accused Armstrong of doping. Then a French reporter somehow got a hold of Armstrong's old urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France. The reporter had the samples retested and found that they had traces of EPO. Armstrong knows that these kinds of accusations are dangerous. As if more of the truth comes out, he could be stripped of his Tour de France titles. And everything he's ever accomplished could be destroyed. His work in the fight against cancer, the mentorship he's given young writers, his relationships with his family, and the message of hope that his story has inspired across the world. Armstrong can't risk that kind of damage. So as he enters ESPN studios, he remains focused and ready to take on the toughest questions. Soon enough, Armstrong takes a seat across from the two hosts, Mike Goliak and Mike Greenberg. The production crew finished the setting up the lighting and soon the interview begins. Right away, Goliak steps into the controversy, bringing up the investigation by the French reporter, the one who found EPO in Armstrong's old urine samples. Armstrong smiles and says he's happy to explain the truth. It's really very simple. He doesn't dope. He never has and he never will. Armstrong then continues, explaining that encycling drug testing is very thorough. The fact is if he was actually guilty of using performance and hampering drugs, he would have been caught already. Any good journalist should know that. Armstrong pauses for a moment and then says that this is sad. It really is. It's upsetting that some people just can't accept the truth and the truth is he achieved his success through hard work, not cheating. The two hosts wait for Armstrong to continue with this sensational topic, but he knows it's best to give a swift denial and then move on. So Armstrong smiles again and says that while he's happy to address all these lies, he's even happier to talk about this year's SB awards. And with that, the conversation takes a turn and the group begins discussing the upcoming ceremony. As Armstrong moves on and talks about the SBs, he has a deep feeling of satisfaction and relief. He got his way with this interview. He defended himself against the newest allegations and made his case in front of millions of viewers. And he was able to pivot the conversation before anything got out of hand. But even if this conversation went well, one thing is clear. The world is not done talking about cyclists and doping. Armstrong may survive his own investigations, but it's only a matter of time before someone else in cycling takes a fall. It's late July 2006 in the Netherlands. Inside a hotel suite, Floyd Landis steps up to a window and looks out at the stunning scenery, the cottages and green fields, the windmills that glint in the afternoon sun. Landis steps back from the window and grins as he collapses into a padded chair. This is the good life. The hotel suite is beyond luxurious and later this evening, he and his wife Amber are going to eat dinner at the nicest restaurant in town. It's a moment to savor, especially after the race he just won. Days ago, Landis took the trophy as the winner of the 2006 Tour de France. It was a highlight of his life, and he has to admit in some ways he owes it all to Lance Armstrong, his former teammate. Armstrong finally retired, and that meant there was now space for someone else to win the biggest prize in cycling. Landis knew it was his year to win the trophy. And even though Armstrong was a difficult teammate and spent too much time partying, he taught Landis an important lesson. You can use performance enhancing drugs and get away with it. The drug shouldn't even be considered cheating if everyone was using them. Landis was uncomfortable at first, but soon he came around on the idea. He began using performance enhancing drugs himself, and he got better and faster. And finally, after years of punishing training, Landis won the Tour de France. Now Landis is in the Netherlands for a short race where the stakes are low, and inside his hotel suite he just has to wait as his wife finishes getting herself dressed for dinner. Then they can go out to celebrate. But as Landis reclines in his chair further, his phone rings. He grabs it from the night stand and answers. There's a man's voice on the other end of the line saying he's an official with the UCI. Landis feels his throat suddenly tightened. The UCI is the group that regulates international cycling. It's also deeply involved in drug testing. The official explains that the UCI has the result of one of Landis's recent urine tests. It was taken after the 17th stage of the Tour de France. According to the test, Landis had abnormally high levels of testosterone. Landis feels himself growing shaky. He looks over at the bathroom where his wife is applying makeup. They meet each other's eyes and she blows a kiss into the mirror. But Landis can barely manage a smile. He feels paralyzed and doesn't know what to do. So without thinking he tells the official that the test result is impossible. He doesn't take testosterone as a banned substance. He knows that. Every cyclist knows that. The official says he won't comment on Landis's innocence or his guilt. He's only calling to report that the test results were suspicious. They'll continue to be scrutinized. And if the UCI concludes the initial results were valid, they'll have no choice but to take action. Landis stands up from the chair, runs a hand through his hair. He asks the official what he means, what kind of action would they take? There's a pause and the official says, if Landis is found guilty, he'll be stripped of his Tour de France title. Soon the conversation ends and Landis gingerly lays his cell phone on the nightstand. His wife emerges from the bathroom and asks what the call was about. Landis can barely look her in the eyes. He can't believe the whip lash just an hour ago he was on top of the world. But now he feels like he's under siege. Like everything is about to collapse. A few weeks later, Floyd Landis sits in his kitchen in Southern California waiting by the phone. Any minute now, he's supposed to receive a call for someone who offered to help Landis, as he responds to the charges about performance enhancing drugs. Landis anxiously grabs the receiver and answers, and Landis feels the relief washing over him. LaMonde is a legend in cycling, and if anyone can help him with this impossible situation, LaMonde is the one. Greg, it is really, really good to hear from you. Oh yeah, I'm glad to help. Now I've been following your situation and I know this is hard, but trust me, you will get through it. It's nice to hear that, especially from you, I don't know, I just don't know what to do. Look, you and I both know the truth. Well, I'm not sure I do. Well, Greg, I don't. That's how I want. There's silence for a moment as Lamon takes in the admission. Well, thank you for being honest with me. Well, I can be honest with you, but what about the UCI? Everyone else? I just don't know what to do. I feel trapped. I promise you're not trapped. Well, then, what's the silver bullet? What do I do? They're threatening to take away my title. Well, Floyd, listen, there's only one thing to do. You need to tell me the truth. I know you were doping, and so do they. The truth, are you crazy? I thought you were gonna give me some kind of strategy, something I could work with. No, no, no, no, coming clean. That would ruin me. Floyd, you have to be honest with yourself. They're coming for you. Yeah, no kidding, they're coming for me. That's why I need some actual good advice. Well, Floyd, let me ask you something. Why did you dop? Oh, God, you're serious. Yeah, yeah, I am. Come on. Answer the question. You know the answer. Oh, maybe. But I want to hear you say it. Well, Mr. Le Mans, three time winner of the Tour de France. I don't because I wanted to win. And why did you think doping was the only way to win? It was Lance. Lance taught me you couldn't win if you didn't dop. Yeah, Lance and Armstrong. That's what I figured. Listen, Floyd, this is exactly why you need to come clean. The entire world cycling, Armstrong. Armstrong has it completely in his grips. Everyone knows he dopes and everyone wants to win. So how do you win? You do things like Lance. You have to dop. But if you come clean, you could finally change things. Greg, are you asking me to sacrifice myself? Well, you're not alone. I'll stand by you. It's a lot to think about. I'll need some time. Yeah, Floyd, take your time. Think about it. But really think about it. And I know if you take the time to look at your situation, you'll do what's right. Landas hangs up the phone, feeling the crushing wage of the moral choice that he now faces. It fills him with anxiety and fear. He's never felt so torn or so uncertain about what to do. When he looks up, he sees his wife Amber standing nearby. She has a concerned look on her face. She approaches, wraps her arms around him. For a moment, the two stand in silence, as Landas feels tears coming to his eyes. But Amber pulls back, and with a serious look on her face, she tells her husband that she overheard the conversation. And she agrees with Lamond. He should tell the truth. Landas nods. He knows she's right. But after a lifetime of working to be a winner, he's not sure he has this strength to lose. So he tells Amber that someday, maybe he will come clean, maybe he'll tell the truth. But for now, there's only one thing he's going to do. He's going to keep fighting the charges, one by one, until they finally disappear. Peloton isn't just about bikes and treadmills. 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We started this podcast over 10 years ago, to dissect some of the craziest and most notable murders, crimes, and conspiracy theories together, and we'd love for you to join us. Generation Y is one of the longest running true crime podcasts out there, and we are still at it, unraveling a new case every week. We break down infamous cases like the Evil Genius Bank robbery, and lesser known cases like the case of Kimberly Rico. Did she actually kill her husband after they took part in a murder mystery game? We cover every angle, breaking down theories, diving deep into forensic evidence, and interviewing those close to the case. And with over 450 episodes, there's a little something for every true crime listener. Follow the Generation Y podcast on Amazon Music, or every listen to podcasts, or you can listen ad free by joining Wondry Plus in the Wondry app. It's June 2008 in Southern California. It's the early afternoon, but already Floyd Landis is thirsty for another drink. It gets up from his couch and grabs a beer from the fridge. He cracks it open and drinks it fast. Landis can barely feel the beer going down. He hasn't felt much lately. Not since he was stripped of his tour to France title, nine months ago. He was accused of using testosterone as a performance enhancing drug, and soon after he was banned from competing in professional cycling for two years. The cyclist Greg Le Monde had urged Landis to come clean, but Landis wasn't ready to ruin his career, so he kept fighting and appealed the decision. Now he's expecting an important call from his lawyer, who may have news about the appeal they filed. If they win, Landis could once again do what he loves most, hop on his bike, and compete against the best cyclist in the world. And if they lose, well, that's something Landis can't wrap his head around. Landis finishes the beer and crushes the can against the counter. He opens the fridge and grabs another. He cracks it open when suddenly his cell phone rings. Hello. Hello, Floyd. It's Maurice. Oh, Maurice. Wait, Maurice? Yes, Maurice, your lawyer. The one fighting so you can start racing again instead of sitting around your house. Oh, well, my house is nice, you know. It's good. Floyd, are you drunk? No, I'm just taking it easy. Okay, well, listen, I have some news. They made a decision about the appeal. Oh, man. Well, it's not good. You were overruled. You're still banned from cycling and the tile from the Tour de France. They're not going to give it back. Landis takes another sip from his beer. Okay, well, I guess we appeal again. No, no, I'm sorry, Floyd. This was already our second appeal. We've lost. We lost. How do we lose? Don't tell me we lost. Yeah, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we can't do anything else. If you're going to have to wait out to suspension, it's come back and make sure you ride clean. Okay, right clean. No one's riding clean. Look, Floyd, listen to me. I'm sorry. It didn't go our way, but your career isn't over. And even if you're not the official winner of the Tour de France, you still have the trophy, right? You were hard for that. So I suggest you look at the bright side. Try to savor the good memories. And then in just two years. Oh, memories. How much do I pay you? How much do I pay you for memories? Floyd, listen, I am sorry. Landis sets his phone on the counter and begins walking back to the living room. It's then he realizes just how drunk he really is. The room is spinning. And he notices empty beer cans everywhere. All at once Landis is filled with a white hot rage. He doesn't think. He just runs upstairs and finds his gold trophy from the Tour de France. Landis grabs it, walks out onto the balcony. He looks down at the driveway far below. And then with all his strength, he hurls the trophy at the ground. For just a moment, it seems suspended in midair. And then it shatters into pieces. Landis stares. Suddenly, he realizes that he's breathing hard. He almost can't believe what he just did. For the longest time, that trophy was the only thing he ever wanted. He would have done anything to win it. But now it's painfully clear. That trophy was a noose around his neck. Now he's free, almost. Landis knows he needs to stop drinking. To clean himself up, he will wait out the suspension. Then he can come back and make a grand reentrance in cycling. He'll keep training and push himself. And eventually, he might replace that trophy. It's September 2008 in Las Vegas. Greg Le Mans opens a set of double doors and walks into a large hotel conference room. At the front of the room is a long table, in front of rows and rows of news reporters and photographers. That's good, Le Mans thinks. He's about to make a scene, and there are plenty of journalists here to witness it. Le Mans takes a seat in the audience and cracks his knuckles. Today is the second day of an international bike expo, and in just a few minutes, Lance Armstrong is going to enter the room and lead a press conference. Armstrong is now 37 years old. He's retired from cycling, but recently announced that he wants to come back and race again. He admitted that he won't be the best, but he says he's fine with that. All he wants is to raise money for cancer. Greg Le Mans knows that Armstrong's decision was calculated so that he'd look noble, like a good person. The reporters in this room will probably eat it up, making Armstrong look like an American hero, as always. But Le Mans has other plans. He's going to disrupt the event, because even if Lance Armstrong is raising money for cancer, that doesn't change everything else he's guilty of. Like cheating, and attempting to destroy Le Mans's life. Earlier this year, the bike manufacturer track finally severed its ties with Le Mans. Track had manufactured a line of bikes named after Le Mans, but the company was unhappy that he spoke out against Armstrong and doping, and it was clear that Armstrong led a campaign to kill the endorsement deal. Ultimately, he won that battle. With the endorsement gone, Le Mans lost a key part of his income. So now, Le Mans has nothing to lose. He's decided he's going to expose Lance Armstrong as a liar and a fraud, even if he has to make a scene at press conference. Soon, Le Mans hears the doors open. He turns along with the rest of the crowd and watches as Lance Armstrong enters the conference room. Armstrong walks alongside his new teen doctor, a 70 year old named Don Catlin. Armstrong strides to the front of the room and smiles for all the cameras. He then takes a seat at the table at front and begins the press conference. When it's time for questions, Le Mans sits back and watches as the reporters ask one softball question after another. Le Mans can barely take it. These are supposed to be journalists, and yet they treat Armstrong like they're his biggest fans. Le Mans waits, listening to another round of easy questions. He promised himself he'd strike when the time was right, but now after yet another softball question, he's lost his patience. So Le Mans calls out to the stage. Several people turn and begin murmuring. Le Mans knows they'll recognize him. He's a cycling legend who won the Tour de France three times. He may be older now, but he's still an icon in the sport. A photographer takes his picture and Le Mans turns to Armstrong's doctor, Don Catlin. He begins by reminding Catlin that he's receiving a salary from Armstrong and his teammates. At the same time, he's supposed to be evaluating the team to make sure they're not doping. That's an obvious conflict of interest. More cameras flash as photographers snap pictures of Greg Le Mans. But he's not focused on them. Instead, he trains his eyes on Lance Armstrong, who stairs right back. Le Mans then asks if Armstrong expected that the whole world would forget his controversies and the allegations of doping. Le Mans can see that Armstrong is trying to restrain himself. He says it's time to move on to another topic. Le Mans tries to respond, but before he can, Armstrong cuts him off. He says that he appreciates Le Mans being here, but it's time for questions from someone else. Le Mans glances around the room. He wants to disturb people up, get the reporters to ask some follow up questions about doping to get serious about this. But as he scans the faces of everyone in the room, his heart begins to sink. It's painfully obvious, no one is on his side, no one wanted to talk about doping in the first place. The journalists and members of the cycling industry actually look angry that he raised the subject. Le Mans is astonished. It seems like no one cares about the truth. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe he just needs to give up and stop fighting with Lance Armstrong. But as he stares at Armstrong looking so untouchable, Le Mans realizes this is exactly how he felt while competing in the Tour de France. Winning seemed impossible, and yet somehow he was able to keep going, to fight until he was the winner. Le Mans may be older now, and he's no longer the star cyclist that he used to be. But that does not change the most important part. He still knows how to fight, and he won't stop until he beats Lance Armstrong. It's July 2009 in Idle Wild, California. Floyd Landis opens through refrigerator and takes out a cold bottle of beer. He pops the cap and slowly slips as he gazes across his new home, a cabin in the woods. The cabin isn't much. It's small and musty. The wooden floors are uneven, and the space always seems to be dark. It's not the kind of place that makes you feel good about yourself. Then again, Floyd Landis isn't leading much of a happy life these days. When he lost his appeal on doping charges, he promised himself that he'd stop drinking, that he'd get back into shape, that he'd be ready as soon as he was allowed to race again. But Landis has not lived up to his own promises. Lately, he's been drinking more, and things recently fell apart with his wife Amber. Last month, she demanded a divorce, and Landis had to move out of their massive home. He ended up finding this cabin, but then things got even worse. One day, he was trying to repair the roof and fell off the ladder. He came tumbling down and broke bones. So now Landis is not only a drunk, he's a drunk on crutches. Today, he's going to change that. He has a plan to turn things around, and it starts with making a phone call. Landis grabs his crutches and humbles over to the living room. He dials the number for one of his old friends, and former cycling coach Johann Bruniel. Bruniel is coaching a new cycling team. He might be one of the only people left who can help Landis get his career and maybe his life back on track. After a few rings, Bruniel picks up. He sounds happy to hear from Landis, and asks how his old friend is doing. Landis has to lie. He can't let anyone know just how far he's fallen. So he tells Bruniel that he's doing well and feeling optimistic. His band from cycling is over, and now he can finally return to the sport that he loves so much. Landis pauses as he prepares to ask for a huge favor. He desperately wants a spot on Bruniel's new team, but another Tour de France winner is already on the roster. It's Landis Armstrong, and the thought of his former teammate makes him queasy. Armstrong is the reason that Landis started doping. And while Landis won the Tour de France, drugs are the reason he was stripped of his title and lost everything he ever cared about. Landis hates the idea that he'll have to work alongside the man who helped destroy him. At the same time, his hands are tied. No other team will touch him, not after he was punished for using performance enhancing drugs. He'll either have to race alongside Lance, or he'll have to accept that he'll never race again. Finally, Landis manages to ask the question. He wants to know if he could join Bruniel's new team. There's a long silence. And when Bruniel speaks again, he says he's sorry. He values Landis as a friend, but there's no way he can join the team. It would be a PR nightmare if he brought on a cyclist who was charged with doping. Landis feels his temper starting to flare. He says he wants to race again, and he deserves to. He did his part to keep Armstrong's secrets. He kept quiet, and he never implicated anyone. He took his punishment like a man, so he deserves a spot on the team. Bruniel says again that he's sorry. There's just nothing he can do. Landis tries to keep the conversation going, but Bruniel cuts him off. And says he has to go. Then he hangs up. Landis sits down the phone. He stunned. This whole time, he thought that if he just kept quiet, if he protected everyone else, the cycling world would eventually take care of him. But now he sees the truth. Landis sacrificed his own conscience, and it was all for nothing. At that moment, something shifts inside Floyd Landis. He's had enough. People like Landis Armstrong think they can get away with everything, no matter what happens to their teammates and their friends. And the rest of the cycling world thinks that you're supposed to stay quiet even as live a ruined. But Floyd Landis is done staying quiet. It's time to start talking. The shocking true crime podcast The Devil Within is back for a second season with a story about love, exorcism, and a murder that's haunted the town of West Yorkshire for decades. In 1974, Michael Taylor was a doating father of five, but after joining a local church and falling in love with its young beautiful preacher, Michael changed. His new church determined that he was possessed by no fewer than 48 demons and would require an exorcism to save his soul and protect his young family from evil. But the supposed remedy would come at a very steep price. The terrifying series The Devil Within is available on Amazon Music Apple Podcasts or wherever you're listening right now. If you'd like to binge the entire series early and add free, subscribe to Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts or the Wondery app. Is July 6, 2009, you're the southern coast of France. The sun shines on a highway in the French countryside and leafy branches canopy the road. It's a quiet afternoon when a pack of bikes comes soaring down the highway. On one of those bikes is Lance Armstrong, smiling as he pedals and rounds a bend. For Armstrong, it's good to be back in the Tour de France, even if he's pushing 40 years old. Because for the very first time in his life, he has no intention of winning. That task falls to his 26 year old teammate, Alberto Contador. Armstrong already has seven trophies from the Tour de France, so now he agreed to ride as the Domestique, a teammate whose job is to help Contador win the race. Armstrong rides alongside his teammates and feels surprised by how much he's enjoying himself. In the past, he felt burdened by his desire to win. It was an addiction that he could never satisfy. But now he doesn't have to win. On top of that, he doesn't face any investigations about doping. For so long, he lived with a nagging fear that the truth would be uncovered. But now that he's nearly 40, no one's trying to take him down. He can spend his time raising money for cancer, doing good work, and he can settle into a new role as the elder statesman of Cycle. Armstrong continues biking down a straight path when one of his teammates points ahead. Lance, see that? What? Group of guys, the crowning Contador we should help. Armstrong looks ahead and sees his team leader stuck in a crown. Armstrong doesn't understand it. If that were him, he'd find his way out. But Contador somehow can't manage it. Maybe he's not good enough. And suddenly Armstrong gets an old edge, something he hasn't felt in a while. He knows he's supposed to be riding as a helper. But now more than anything, he wants to get ahead of everyone. Armstrong grips his handlebars and begins pushing himself harder. He goes faster and soon he passes Contador, his team leader. Contador calls out. Lance, what are you doing? Get in the head! Lance, take your position! But Armstrong keeps pushing ahead. One of his other teammates tries to keep up. And calls out to Armstrong. Lance, we gotta hang back! And help! Forget about it! Ride with me! Stay close! That's not the plan! It's the new plan! Armstrong pushes harder, and he and his teammates surge to the front of the pack. They reach a turn and Armstrong slingshots around the curve. His front wheel spinning just inches from the racer in front of him. Armstrong and his teammates then speed down the straightaway, picking off competitors one by one. Armstrong grits his teeth and pushes even harder. He's getting ahead of the pack and can feel his momentum picking up. Armstrong can now see he's approaching the end of the stage. It's only a few miles ahead. He's not in first. There are still a couple of cyclists beating him. But if he keeps up this pace, he could take the lead. Armstrong begins sprinting. He can barely breathe, and his legs are burning and pain. Then he casts a glance of his shoulder. And to his surprise, another cyclist is gaining on him. It's Contador, the team captain he was supposed to help. Contador picks up his pace and pulls closer to Armstrong. But now Armstrong can't let go. He has to get ahead. Something is propelling him forward, keeping him from slowing down. He and Contador push forward, riding side by side. He doesn't matter that their teammates, that Armstrong agreed to help Contador. For Lance Armstrong, all that matters now is getting to the finish line as fast as possible. So Armstrong digs deep and sprints faster than he has in years. His legs and back are shooting with pain, but Armstrong doesn't feel it. He's only aware of the finish line and Contador falling behind. A moment later, Armstrong sails through the finish line, starts gasping for air. He didn't win this stage of the Tour de France, and there's no chance he can win the entire tour. But he doesn't care. Because today he showed the world that he's not done. He'll keep training and come next year. No one will stop him from once again winning the Tour de France. It's April 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. Floyd Land is steps into a restaurant and scans the dining room where people are eating salads and burgers. So far, he doesn't see anyone he recognizes, and that's good. He checks his pocket and feels around for a rectangular device. It's still there. Land is exhales and spans one last moment deciding whether he wants to go through with this. He's already made plenty of mistakes, like doping at all while racing in the Tour de France. And it's not too late to back out from this meeting today. But when he spots himself in a mirror and sees his ragged hair and tired eyes, he knows there's no turning back. Land is spots a man in the booth farthest from the door. He has a shaved head and thin rimmed glasses. When he looks up, he notices Landis and waves. The man's name is Andrew Messick, and he's in charge of the Tour of California bike race. One of the most prestigious races in the country, and Landis knows Messick to be an honest man. Landis has something to share with Messick, and he needs to give the information to someone he can trust. So Landis walks over to the booth and takes a seat. Messick greets him and asks if they should call the waiter over. Landis says that can wait. First, they talk. Landis reaches into his pocket and pulls out the rectangular device. It's a tape recorder. Landis sets it on the table. When Landis presses record, Messick gets a look of worry in his eyes. He asks Landis what's going on? Landis knows he needs to speak calmly. He begins by explaining that Messick is a friend, and someone he knows he can trust. This isn't some kind of setup, but recorder is for his own sake. Landis is taping this conversation so he can have definitive proof about what he said. He's going to speak openly, and he needs to protect himself in case anyone ever accuses him of lying in this meeting. Messick leans forward, concerned, asking Landis again, what is this all about? For Floyd Landis, it's all come down to this. After losing his title from the Tour de France, after watching his own life cave in, there's only one thing he can do, unburden his conscience by telling the truth. So Landis says he needs to talk about professional cycling. He needs to come clean. When he was a pro, he used performance enhancing drugs, and he wasn't the only one. Many of the biggest names in cycling have also doped, and for years they've lied about it to the public. This includes Landis Armstrong. Messick sits back and looks off into the distance. For a second, Landis grows concerned himself. He's not too much of a messick because he's a powerful figure in cycling, and Landis believes that if he had the truth, he'd do the right thing. He'd tell others, and soon the wall of secrecy would begin to crumble. But now, as Messick considers this admission, Landis isn't sure whether he made the right decision to speak the truth. Messick looks deeply troubled, but Landis also knows that all he can do is keep talking, to convince Messick to take his side. Landis goes on, explaining that cycling is like the mafia. People lie and people cheat, and they expect you to keep your mouth shut. It's a small club, and if you want access, you have to play by their rules. But Landis says, cyclists aren't entirely like the mafia. Because in cycling, when you get caught for doping, no one rushes to your protection. It's ruthless, and it's wrong, and cycling needs to change. Landis stops, and lets his words sink in. Messick then asks if Landis is planning to go public with his information. Landis nods and says he is. Otherwise, nothing will ever change. That's part of why he called today's meeting. Landis is going to shock the world by telling the truth, and he wants to know if he has Messick's support. Messick looks down, thinking. But then, slowly, he begins to nod. He says that Landis has made the right decision. He believes Landis, though he's not sure everyone will. Landis says he's not worried about proof. He's got more than enough, and he's ready to move forward. Landis has already drafted a message to the president of USA Cycling. Once he sends it, there won't be any turning back. Soon, the entire world will learn the truth about cyclists and doping. From Wondering, this is Episode 3 of 5 of Lance Armstrong from American scandal. On the next episode, Floyd Landis goes public about performance and enhancing drugs, and Lance Armstrong struggles to contain the fallout as the truth comes out. If you'd like to learn more about Lance Armstrong, we recommend the book Wheelman by Reed, Albergati, and Vanessa Oconnell. This episode contains reenactments and dramatized details. In while in most cases, we can't know exactly what was said. All of dramatizations are based on historical research. American scandal has hosted, edited, and executed produced by me, Lindsay Graham for Airship. Audio editing by Molly Bach, sound design by Derek Barons, music by Lindsay Graham. This episode is written by Hannibal Diaz, edited by Christina Malsberger. Our senior producer is Gabe Riven, executive producers, our Stephanie Jenns, Jenny Lauer Bachman, and her nonlopes for Wondering.