Former US Postal Service team manager Johan Bruyneel has acknowledged that he is unlikely to work in cycling again, saying that he is “pretty much done with cycling.”
The announcement comes a month ahead of the arbitration hearing between Bruyneel and the US Anti-Doping Agency. Bruyneel has been charged with possession, trafficking and administration of banned substances, aiding, abetting and covering up anti-doping rule violations between 1998 and 2011.
Unlike Lance Armstrong, who declined to contest USADA’s charges and was handed a life ban, Bruyneel, along with former team doctor Pedro Celaya and trainer Jose “Pepe” Marti, has sought arbitration, which will take place in London from December 16 to 20.
“Regardless of the outcome of the USADA investigation or any charges against me, I’ve made the decision that I’m pretty much done with cycling because I don’t see a change,” Bruyneel told Luxembourg television station RTL.
The RadioShack-Leopard team dispensed with Bruyneel’s services in October 2012 following the publication of USADA’s Reasoned Decision on the US Postal Service case. While Armstrong has since confessed to doping, Bruyneel has refused to discuss the matter in detail but claimed that he and Armstrong had been turned into scapegoats.
“I don’t see myself as the devil. People are trying to picture Lance and myself as the bad guys, but that’s wrong,” Bruyneel said. “When there’s a general problem, the easiest way to manage it is to find a culprit and blame it all on him, and I think that’s what’s happening.”
While Bruyneel welcomed Brian Cookson’s election as president in place of previous incumbent Pat McQuaid, he questioned whether the Briton would be able to make any major changes to the sport.
“I think that Brian Cookson is definitely the right man in the right place, but I don’t think that major changes in the system or the structure are going to happen overnight,” Bruyneel said.
Tyler Hamilton and at least two other former US Postal riders have been asked by USADA to testify at the London hearing next month. USADA’s charges against Bruyneel are outlined in its Reasoned Decision in a damning nine-page section entitled, “Johan Bruyneel's involvement in doping” which alleges that the Belgian became “adept at leading [young riders] down the path from newly minted professional rider to veteran drug user."
Bruyneel, meanwhile, is reported to be writing a book outlining his version of events, which will be titled “Poker Face.”