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Former US Postal riders testifying at Bruyneel arbitration

Daniel Benson
December 17, 2013, 18:45,
December 17, 2013, 18:46
Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Johan Bruyneel ties up a few loose ends before the start of stage one.

Johan Bruyneel ties up a few loose ends before the start of stage one.

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London hearings get underway behind closed doors

Despite a concerted effort from USADA and others involved to keep the arbitration hearing of Johan Bruyneel, Pedro Celaya and Jose “Pepe” Marti under wraps, Cyclingnews understands that the London-based case began on Monday and has seen a number of key witnesses give evidence. All three men are facing lifetime bans as a result of USADA's Reasoned Decision. The London event is set to be fought over jurisdiction rights, since none of the individuals are from the USA.

Although the hearing is taking place behind closed doors, Cyclingnews understands that a number of former US Postal riders have been lined up to testify with some already haven given evidence on Monday. In the weeks leading up the hearing Tyler Hamilton confirmed to Cyclingnews that he was contacted by USADA. However, Cyclingnews understands that the story promoted a stern reminder from USADA's legal counsel to remind all potential witnesses that talking to the press was strictly forbidden. Since then Hamilton has not been reachable by Cyclingnews. Floyd Landis, who was expected to give evidence, refused to comment or discuss the case.

On June 13, 2012, USADA charged Bruyneel, Armstrong's team director for all seven of the Texan's Tour de France victories from 1999 to 2005, Lance Armstrong, doctors Luis Garcia del Moral, Celaya, Marti and trainer Michele Ferrari with a host of violations including possession of prohibited substances and/or methods (including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment, testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids and masking agents); trafficking of the aforementioned prohibited substances; administration and/or attempted administration of prohibited substances; and assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up and other complicity involving one or more anti-doping rule violations.

Armstrong, Ferrari and del Moral chose not to contest the charges, while Bruyneel, Celaya and Marti opted to take the case to the arbitration hearing now being held.

Days before the hearing, Levi Leipheimer, who was one of many who gave evidence in USADA's Reasoned Decision, would only provide a 'no comment' when asked if he would provide video testimony from the United States. In a text conversation with Cyclingnews, Slipstream's Jonathan Vaughters would not even confirm if he had been asked by USADA to give evidence against Bruyneel. However he did add that he "didn't know if he would be testifying' but that 'When I submitted my affidavit in 2012, that already is testimony. As from the process there on out, you'll have to ask USADA."

However USADA has been equally as cagey. In the days leading up to the opening day of proceedings, a representative from the anti-doping body would not even confirm if Travis Tygart would be present at the landmark case. Despite all this secrecy Cyclingnews understands that witnesses began testimony on Monday and that Bruyneel's legal team were allowed the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. A source familiar with the case said that Tom Danielson is also set to testify, via video.

This brings us to Bruyneel, the man at the centre of the hearing. From what Cyclingnews can gather the Belgian has not submitted a list of witnesses to give supporting evidence from his side. However, former US Postal team doctor Pedro Celaya has allegedly called in Martin Hardie to testify in his corner. When asked for an on-the-record comment concerning the case, Hardie would not deny that he was set to testify, telling us "No comment" before adding "I understand the arbitration is private and I respect that. In any event I don't do interviews with Daniel Benson."

Johan Bruyneel has declined to comment on several occasions when contacted by Cyclingnews.

HeadPack 10 months ago
TT seems to want exclusive rights as regards posing for the press. No other winners in this drama. Or are there?
PaulwalIf8150 10 months ago
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Long Rider 10 months ago
Get off this forum, you troll!!
jackhfoster 10 months ago
Didnt Tygart tell the world that these would be in a public forum? What's with all the secrecy?
RobbieCanuck 10 months ago
These hearings are governed by special Arbitration Rules specific to cycling. In those rules all of the parties agree the hearing will be private. Once a decision is reached it will be a written decision just as the Armstrong Reasoned Decision was and will be made public. This is standard stuff and no one should be surprised.
jackhfoster 10 months ago
so much for transparency
bike_boy 10 months ago
Storm in a teacup, nothing to see here.
ElReyDelSol 10 months ago
With all the hoo-ha over Tygart and doping cases, you would think he was the one encouraging doping in sport. IMO, Tygart is simply doing his job as head of USADA. It seems to me he was simply following the evidence that Novitsky turned up after Kayle Leogrande's landlord rang up Novitsky regarding drugs in his fridge and Novitsky started asking questions. The rumors and evidence of doping by Armstrong and USPS had been around for a long time by this point. And no, it isn't Tygart's or USADA's job to pursue doping in football, baseball or any other sport that isn't under the jurisdiction of USADA/WADA. I don't think that this case is about generating a winner. Evidence of doping has emerged and those responsible should see justice. Yes, many others were doping and many of them have received sanctions - Armstrong is not the only one. Others have not been investigated at all - unfortunate, but many of them are outside USADA's jurisdiction and simply because they haven't been investigated or charged doesn't give Arrmstrong and Co. a free pass. I think a lot of information could come out of this. Specifically, how deep the corruption goes in the UCI or even the IOC. It seems we won't discover this from Armstrong as he has refused to provide evidence despite being a very long window to come forward. Yes, his punishment is worse than the others but so are his crimes both in and out of sport. He has had the chance to cooperate and mitigate his punishment many times but has refused at every turn and in fact has attempted to stop his investigation several times as well. I don't see how these facts allow him equal treatment compared to others (VDV, Levi, etc).
Chuck_T 10 months ago
Stop making sense.
pleyser 10 months ago
I wonder if the Bruyneel fanboys will come out swinging? Does Johan have any fanboys?
epofuel 10 months ago
The reason you don´t make any sense is that you are not looking at the sport in context. You think Lance is corrupt? How many cyclists were caught with cars full of drugs in Europe? How many current directors ran doping programs? How come Riis is still in the sport? Nobody questions Indurain´s achievements? WHY IS THE GIRO 2014 GOING TO HONOR PANTANI? And you´re telling me Lance is out of the sport because of one guy´s crusade? If you can honor Pantani, you can honor Lance. Cookson is going to turn up some awful stuff in cycling if his little panel digs far enough and ChuckT etc. will be amazed to know what we´ve known all along...that even Big Mig doped to win his Tours. Since nobody will want to even touch that, they are going to have to either cover up the findings or simply reinstate the results. They will end up having to invalidate all of cycling or put the results back. Ain´t that going to be fun. Where are the other pros asking for their stolen results? Nobody. Nothing. Zero.
Silver Bullet 10 months ago
so what? i dont want them out of our sport for life because of their doping activity i want them out of our sport for life coz they are a pack of cosmos-class carnts.
golden child 10 months ago
very well said...
slam that stem 10 months ago
Excuse me Johan, what did you say....You might as well what? How's that book going? Sitting in non-fiction is it?
ceramiccyclist 10 months ago
I think the phrase that got coined was "We might as well dope"
epofuel 10 months ago
Look, in the current context of cycling with 2014 being the year the Giro honors Marco Pantani and given the number of ex-pros who have confessed and the huge doping busts of the past decade or two, I think that is a fine title. When everyone else is doping, which they were (deny that and it´s just insanity), then yeah, why not dope as well? You might as well!
epofuel 10 months ago
And if Ryder Hesjedal can dope and tell everyone he only did it in 2003 and after that won a grand tour after spending years on Lance´s teams, and escape punishment...well then, yes, we ALL might as well dope.
anatomy34 10 months ago
TT made a huge production about seeking and preferring transparency from all particiants. It seems there are certain scenarios where his team can and does conduct their business out of the limelight you might say. They seem to believe that not all activities need to be publicly scrutinized as they happen, but later will provide an official announcement and possibly another publication for us to peruse. Those in the legal professions can be very adamant about secrecy as we are seeing this week. The question is who most stands to benefit?
leftbehind 10 months ago
This isn't a hearing conducted by Tygart or his team. It is an independent arbitration panel. Tygart and others are required to follow the rules of disclosure put forth by the panel. Why blame Tygart for something not under his control?
Chuck_T 10 months ago
It doesn't matter how factually correct your post may be THEY won't listen.
WildspokeJoe 10 months ago
I can't not confirm nor deny that I read this story.
jabike 10 months ago
A sentance with a triple negative, my head? Blown!!! I don't know what to believe anymore.
rshimizu12 10 months ago
I wonder what sort of legal authority the USADA has to place a gag order those that testified....? Furthermore I am also wondering if they can compel retired riders to testify...?
David Brower 10 months ago
The authority comes from the arbitration clause for doping adjudication present in contracts and licenses from the UCI and/or national federations. In principle, an arbitration panel can subpoena, though it's rare and unlikely to be used here. More likely, cooperation from people who cut deals was a condition of their deal; not atypical, the first ones in blow the whistles on those late to the party, and it's musical chairs time. The secrecy is hardly surprising; what was more surprising was the public hearing in the first Landis case, which I followed fairly closely.
izz1green 10 months ago
Remember this is an American arbitration panel, sitting in London, trying a Belgian for something he's accused of doing in France and elsewhere in Europe. Has the Court of Arbitration pronounced on the jurisdictional issues? If they have, it would be interesting to see their reasoning. Regarding a subpoenas, yes, the AAA can issue them but they can only be enforced by a Federal court and the case law on this is mixed. Can an American body enforce a subpoena for a hearing in London, I doubt it but if there's learned friend out there who knows better, I for one would be interested in what they have to say.
wrinklyvet 10 months ago
I expect most learned friends are busy right now.
leftbehind 10 months ago
An "American" arbitration panel? Where did you get that idea?
izz1green 10 months ago
The American Arbitration Association, the AAA, is named as the administrator to resolve disputes related to proceedings under the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).