On June 12, 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency unleashed a letter that set the cycling world ablaze in a still smoldering fire, a letter that outlined the evidence and charges against a who’s who of Lance Armstrong’s teams.
It’s been more than a year since USADA emptied its cannons and released the reasoned decision, which led to Armstrong’s very public downfall, the stripping of his Tour de France wins, and his confession on cable TV.
Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong’s former manager, was also tethered to what USADA called a doping “conspiracy,” but had eluded the limelight of arbitration. Until now.
Earlier this week, roadcycling.com reported a “source” indicated that Bruyneel and other Armstrong and team doctors Pedro Celaya and Jose “Pepe” Marti would face arbitration in London, from Dec. 16-20. VeloNews was able to confirm through its own source that Bruyneel would be facing USADA in December, though other details remained unclear. It’s taken a considerable amount of time to get the Belgian to face the music; last year, USADA CEO Travis Tygart said he thought Bruyneel would appear before a panel by the new year of 2013.
Bruyneel famously directed Armstrong to seven Tour de France wins that have since been stripped because Armstrong — and Bruyneel, according to USADA — orchestrated one of the deepest doping conspiracies that professional sports have encountered.
“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 claimed in its initial document. “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.”
That letter leveled similar charges at team doctors Luis Garcia del Moral and Celaya, Dr. Michele Ferrari, and team trainer Martí.
USADA alleged a massive, 14-year doping violation that it labeled a “USPS conspiracy.” Team officials, such as Bruyneel, allegedly obtained performance-enhancing drugs and then distributed them to top riders. There were code names for drugs and the expectation that riders use EPO and other drugs in order to help the leaders perform better in stage race general classifications, according to USADA.
“Beginning in 1999 and continuing through the present it has been an object of the conspiracy to conceal and cover-up the doping conduct of the USPS Conspiracy,” the letter stated. “Numerous witnesses will testify that as part of this cover-up Johan Bruyneel, Pedro Celaya, Michele Ferrari, Lance Armstrong and other co-conspirators engaged in activities to conceal their conduct and mislead anti-doping authorities including false statements to the media, false statements and false testimony given under oath and in legal proceedings, and attempts to intimidate, discredit, silence and retaliate against witnesses.”
Bruyneel has said he plans to write a book to set his version of events in front of the public, “to put everything into the right context and correct the false image that the USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) report, the media, and people like Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis have given.”