Bruyneel: ‘I am innocent of all charges’
RadioShack-Nissan manager Johan Bruyneel responded Friday to the hail of doping accusations brought against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency earlier this week, by simply stating: “I have never participated in any doping activity and I am innocent of all charges.”
Meanwhile, Bruyneel’s current team owner, Flavio Becca’s Leopard S.A. said Friday that it would take appropriate measures to uphold the team’s zero tolerance doping program.
“I shall of course cooperate fully with the investigation, although I have no doubt the end result will be the same as all the other investigations over the years,” Bruyneel said via a statement on his website.
It was reported in May that authorities met Bruyneel with a subpoena upon his landing in the U.S. prior to the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. It was never made public what occurred after that. RadioShack-Nissan officials refused to comment when asked by VeloNews about the reported meeting.
USADA sent Bruyneel, Lance Armstrong, Dr. Michele Ferrari and several others associated with the Texan’s historic Tour de France run a 15-page letter earlier this week, which sketched a sprawling blueprint for the looming case against the Armstrong team.
The letter detailed what USADA alleges is a systemic 14-year doping ring, spanning teams, seven Tour de France titles and the subsequent conspiracy to cloak the program.
Armstrong has responded, saying he’s never doped. Friday marked the first time Bruyneel — who is alleged to have trafficked and even administered a gamut of performance-enhancing drugs, such as EPO — addressed the allegations.
“I am dismayed that once again doping allegations have been raised against me, this time by USADA,” his statement read.
“Following a Department of Justice Grand Jury investigation, no charges were filed against me. It cannot be right that I or anyone else can be pursued from court to court simply because our accusers do not like the decisions made along the way and so attempt to find a court which will get them the result they want.”
In February, federal prosecutors dropped an investigation into Armstrong and other cyclists without bringing criminal charges. At the time USADA said it would continue to investigate allegations of doping in cycling and hoped to have access to the information gathered in the criminal probe. The Word Anti-Doping Agency has said the information released in the USADA letter was gleaned independent of the federal probe.
The statement from Leopard S.A. acknowledged the allegations made against Bruyneel and noted that they date to the team manager’s time before joining forces with Becca at the end of 2011.
“After a first review of this document, Leopard S.A. takes note that none of the investigated facts relate to its cycling team, to its riders or to the present activities of Mr. Bruyneel within the Leopard S.A. structure. Indeed, these alleged facts report exclusively to events that took place prior to the start of the collaboration between Leopard S.A. and Mr. Bruyneel.
“Leopard S.A. stepped into cycling with the firm commitment of actively promoting a zero doping policy. In this context, and in the light of the possible development of the case, Leopard S.A. will take all appropriate measures, in order to guarantee its sporting integrity and the general interest of cycling.”