Astana team general manager Johan Bruyneel spoke with Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo at the team's camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In part two of our extended interview, Bruyneel talks about the doping issues and the political problems which are plaguing the sport. (Continued from part one):
Astana's new general manager Johan Bruyneel clearly faces an uphill battle in trying to restore faith in his new Astana team. It is not just because Astana had three doping positives in 2007 - Matthias Kessler (testosterone), Alexander Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin (blood transfusion) as well as the implication of Eddy Mazzoleni in the 'Oil for Drugs' scandal - but also because he himself became damaged by the constant doping allegations against Lance Armstrong.
Added to that, the positives of riders who left his program and then tested positive like Roberto Heras and Floyd Landis, and the unceasing Operación Puerto which continues to threaten the reputation of Contador, and Bruyneel's task is all the more difficult.
However, Bruyneel is determined that he can salvage the reputation of the team, and believes that the sport as a whole can clean itself up and restore the faith of the fans, but he begs patience in what will be a slow process.
"I cannot go any faster than time allows us," Bruyneel sighed, looking tired at the prospect of answering yet another question about the doping problem. "We haven't been competing yet except for Tour Down Under, but we haven't been on showcase. I am going to try to show everyone that we're a new team. Although we still have some riders from last year, it's a new structure, new management.
"Although we know the reputation of Astana in 2007 is not good, unfortunately I cannot change that. The good thing is I don't feel responsible. I know it's a problem I have to solve, but I feel like we have made all the right steps to have a new start. Sometimes it's frustrating when everyone makes the link to 2007, but I have to ask everyone to forget that - I cannot change that."
Read the entire Johan Bruyneel interview here.