The 31,000 word interview that changed pro cycling

Paul Kimmage interview with Floyd Landis on NY Velocity.

In 2010 the journalist Paul Kimmage interviewed the former pro cyclist Floyd Landis for a newspaper article. Landis won the 2006 Tour de France before having his title stripped for a doping offence. Coming from a Mennonite background and having been almost completely ostracised from the sport, Landis is an unusual character in comparison to most cyclists.

Kimmage read through the transcript of his 7 hour conversation with Landis and decided there was more to it than he could cover in a single newspaper article. A couple of months later the full, 31,000 word transcript was published on nyvelocity.com, an act which would not have been plausible offline.

The interview quickly gained attention and led directly to multiple lawsuits which divided and galvanised cycling fans. The topic of doping is discussed at length in the interview and revelations would dominate the sport since.

Only online could you publish such a document and see it spread so quickly. It was an inspired and brave decision to do so and shows how not all content decisions can be made by referring to guidelines or usual practice.

Don’t be afraid to take risks with your own content and to test what happens when you do something unexpected.