2-Time Olympian Tinker Juarez Joins Floyd Landis’s New Racing Team

The team will focus on both gravel and mountain bike races next season.

tinker juarez joins floyd landis team
Courtesy Floyd’s of Leadville

Floyd Landis is returning to racing—sort of. Starting next season, his CBD-product company Floyd’s of Leadville will be sponsoring a gravel and mountain bike team—with David “Tinker” Juarez as its star rider.

Landis, 46, rose to prominence as a pro 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 due to doping. And he’s sponsored a cycling team before: A few years after founding Floyd’s of Leadville, Landis sponsored a pro continental cycling team for the 2019 season.

Now, nearly three years later, Landis is ready to get back into the racing scene, though this time he’s opting for gravel cycling and mountain biking.

“I started out mountain biking back in … 1990, early 1990s. I was a mountain biker and didn’t switch to the road ‘til close to 2000. So for me, mountain biking has always been kind of where my heart was at. I was better at road racing for a bunch of other reasons,” Landis told Bicycling. “[Road] cycling has always gone through, you know, periods where it’s booming and periods where it’s, you know, kind of bleak … the entire model of it doesn’t really work … I don’t know where road racing goes in the U.S. But it’s had its ups and downs in the past.”

As for gravel cycling, the U.S. has seen massive growth in the discipline in the past several years. Gravel-specific bikes are now produced by nearly every major bike brand, proliferating bike shop floors and the garages of cyclists of every kind. New gravel races and events pop up every year across the country, with significant turnout. And pro cyclists, both former and current, are increasingly getting in on the gravel racing action.

Gravel cycling’s rising popularity is part of what makes it an attractive opportunity for Landis to once again serve as a race team sponsor. But he says the nature of the gravel community is also a real draw.

“As far as a marketing strategy for the company, the gravel and the mountain bike events have a much better atmosphere where you interact with people. Professional road racing is ... an event, and you have the pros there, and you have people watching, but you don’t have the sort of community of people that are all participating,” Landis said. “American cycling fans are generally Americans who like to ride their bikes. And that’s why this gravel thing is so appealing to them—they can go just be part of the mass start, and everybody does the event and hangs out afterwards.”

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

tinker juarez
Juarez at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
Mike PowellGetty Images

Juarez was sponsored by Cannondale for 27 years, up until this past October. When Landis heard that Juarez was without a main sponsor, he eagerly reached out.

“I’ve known Tinker for a long time,” Landis said. “He represents something that the sport should aspire to represent, right? He cares about it, 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 excited about getting into gravel more and more.

“I started a few years back, and I started really liking it a lot,” Juarez told Bicycling. “I’m looking to get more involved with it. And it seems like it’s really catching on fire as far as racing is going.”

And Juarez has no plans of retiring from competitive cycling any time soon.

“There’s people that always say, ‘I’m 40 and I just started riding, and I’m just glad I could look up to you,’” Juarez said. “Being 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 that’s fun … it was always a dream of mine to make it a living, you know, so now [I’m] still doing it.”

Juarez will continue to focus mostly on mountain bike races, though he’ll likely dip his toes into more gravel racing this upcoming season.

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

Landis will also participate at certain events, but he was quick to point out that by no means will he be racing them.

“I got overweight and quit riding for the longest time,” Landis said. “So it’s good for me, it gives me something to train for. And I like the atmosphere there. I like talking to people at these events—it’s a really great crowd.”

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