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Johan Bruyneel Says He's Done with Cycling



Former boss of the US Postal Service team from 1999 to 2005, Johan Bruyneel, told Luxembourg TV that he’s "pretty much done with cycling". 

The Belgian, who was reunited with Lance Armstrong with the Astana team when the American rider came out of retirement in 2009, announced the news in a video interview with Luxembourg-based TV channel -RTL. 

“I’ve made a decision that I’m pretty much done with cycling – I don’t see a change,” said the 49-year-old, who now lives in London, where the interview was filmed.

However, cycling may not be done with Bruyneel just yet.

In June of last year, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) charged him, alongside Armstrong, with “engaging in a massive doping conspiracy from 1998-2011."

In the letter laying out its charges, USADA said: “Numerous riders will testify that Mr. Bruyneel gave to them and/or encouraged them to use doping products and/or prohibited methods, including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, HGH and cortisone during the period from 1999 through 2007.”

Armstrong eventually chose not to fight the charges, and was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France victories. In January this year, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he belatedly confessed to doping. Two doctors, Michele Ferrari and Luis Garcia del Moral, were also banned from the sport for life as well.

Bruyneel, however, has chosen to contest the charges through arbitration, as have former team doctors Pedro Celaya and Jose Marti, with a hearing scheduled to take place in London from 16-20 December.

In its Reasoned Decision on the Armstrong case, USADA said:

The overwhelming evidence in this case is that Johan Bruyneel was intimately involved in all significant details of the U.S. Postal team’s doping program. He alerted the team to the likely presence of testers. He communicated with Dr. Ferrari about his stars’ doping programs. He was on top of the details for organizing blood transfusion programs before the major Tours, and he knew when athletes needed to take EPO to regenerate their blood supply after extracting blood. He was present when blood transfusions were given. He even personally provided drugs to the riders on occasion.

Most perniciously, Johan Bruyneel learned how to introduce young men to performance enhancing drugs, becoming adept at leading them down the path from newly minted professional rider to veteran drug user.

Bruyneel, was ultimately terminated by the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team, after the Reasoned Decision was published. Nevertheless, he insisted in his interview with RTL: “I don’t see myself as the devil, people are trying to picture myself and Lance as the bad guys.”

The interview comes at a time when it looks likely that Armstrong will testify before the an up and coming independent inquiry that UCI president-elect Brian Cookson has commissioned. 

Bruyneel told RTL that although he trusts Brian Cookson, he does not believe that cycling’s culture of doping can be changed overnight.

 


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