BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — The United States Anti-Doping Agency is moving its case forward against Belgian Johan Bruyneel, the former manager of the United States Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams, according to any agency spokesperson.
Bruyneel directed Lance Armstrong to seven Tour de France wins that have since been stripped because Armstrong — and Bruyneel, according to USADA — presided over one of the deepest doping conspiracies that modern professional sports has ever encountered.
Two others from the Armstrong dynasty have elected to go to an independent arbitration hearings as opposed to accept lifetime bans: trainer Jose “Pepe” Martí and team doctor Pedro Celaya.
Armstrong accepted his lifetime ban when he refused to contest the constellation of charges USADA leveled at the American who was, until recently, the only man to win the Tour more than five times.
A statement from USADA to VeloNews earlier this week indicated that the cases against Armstrong’s director and support staff would in fact be moving forward, but that the timeline was undefined.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart has said Bruyneel’s case will be heard before the end of the year, and that he may tap Armstrong to testify, under oath — which begs the question: can Bruyneel actually go through with his arbitration or will he ultimately accept a ban?
“Lance Armstrong could be heard as a witness in this case, under oath, like the others. If there’s perjury, it’s serious…” Tygart told French Daily L’Equipe in September. An arbitration hearing affords the involved parties the subpoena power that USADA’s investigation lacked.
Bryneel has since walked away from his director’s seat at RadioShack-Nissan, in order “to ensure the serenity and cohesiveness within the team,” he said.
According to the USADA files, Bruyneel and Armstrong’s program wasn’t merely doping — this was doping on an entirely different level. Tygart told VeloNews after the files broke that the Postal Service ring was the “worst” his organization has come across in all of sports. “ … By far the Postal Service doping conspiracy is… one of the most egregious that we’ve ever seen,” he said.
USADA outlined Bruyneel’s alleged possession of blood bags and needles, his trafficking of EPO and other drugs, his administration of the substances and his covering up of the uses. Martí and Celaya face similar charges.
“With respect to Mr. Bruyneel, 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,” USADA’s initial letter detailing the charges reads.
“Riders and other witnesses will also testify that Bruyneel worked actively to conceal rule violations by himself and others throughout the period from 1999 through the present.”
Bruyneel has been relatively quiet since USADA released its case files on October 10. He released a short statement two days later, complaining that USADA had breached “the confidentiality of the proceedings”, which read, “In response to recent speculation, I will continue to be involved in legal proceedings relating to USADA’s proposed charges as long as I believe that I am still able to receive a fair hearing and that my defense has not been permanently prejudiced by USADA’s act. However, rest assured that the time will come when I will share with you a balanced account of events.”
On October 28 Bruyneel broke a two-week silence over his situation, via Twitter, with a short, defiant post: “There’s always 2 sides to a story. Coming soon!”