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Johan Bruyneel ties up a few loose ends before the start of stage one.
Former team manager and team doctors face USADA arbitration
More than a year after Lance Armstrong was banned for life for doping following the USADA investigation, Johan Bruyneel is set to move closer to knowing his own fate with an arbitration hearing scheduled in London in late December.
According to a report on the roadcycling.com website, Bruyneel plus former team doctors Pedro Celaya, and Jose "Pepe" Marti will face arbitration with USADA in London between December 16-20.
Armstrong and Dr. Michele Ferrari opted not to face arbitration and were banned for life last October. The Texan later confessed to doping throughout his career, while the Italian doctor has always denied any wrong doing.
Bruyneel has been charged with possession, trafficking and administration of banned substances, aiding, abetting and covering up anti-doping rule violations, but reaching arbitration has been a long, drawn out process.
In their charging letter, USADA said: “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.”
It is unclear if the riders will be called to London for questioning.
The USADA Reasoned Decision document, issued one year ago, includes a damning nine-page section titled: Johan Bruyneel's involvement in doping.
One section alleges how Bruyneel learned how to "introduce young men to performance enhancing drugs, becoming adept at leading them down the path from newly minted professional rides to veteran drug user."
Bruyneel now lives in London. He was dismissed as team manager of the Radioshack team last year following the USADA investigation and has kept a low profile. He gave an interview to Cyclingnews in August but refused to talk about the USADA case.
He refused to comment on news of the December arbitration but has hinted he is writing a book about time as a team manager with Armstrong.
In a statement published on his website last October he wrote: "It is my hope that a properly constituted, impartial hearing panel will confirm that the case should never even have gotten this far. Due to the sensitive nature of legal proceedings, I have been advised that it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage."
In a later statement he said: "Rest assured that the time will come when I will share with you a balanced account of events."