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USADA: Bruyneel a key player in Armstrong and team's doping

By:
Cycling News
Published:
October 10, 2012, 23:42 BST,
Updated:
October 11, 2012, 0:43 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 11, 2012
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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Team manager pressured riders, facilitated doping

The USADA Reasoned Decision document reveals huge details of the findings of the investigators, lifting the lid on what USADA calls "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

The document includes a damning nine-page section titled: Johan Bruyneel's involvement in doping.

The Belgian team manager is mentioned multiple times elsewhere in documents but the 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 has always denied the accusations of doping and has as yet chosen to contest the charges made by USADA and take his case to arbitration in the USA.

Using key sections of many of the witnesses' affidavits and even carefully selected quotes from Bruyneel's own autobiography, the USADA report details Bruyneel's persuasive and often bullying techniques. It reveals how he closely monitored riders' blood values, taught them how to blood dope and pressured them instead of protecting their health.

“The overwhelming evidence in this case is that Johan Bruyneel was intimately involved in all significant details of the U.S. Postal team’s doping program. He alerted the team to the likely presence of testers. He communicated with Dr. Ferrari about his stars’ doping programs,” the document said.

“He was on top of the details for organizing blood transfusion programs before the major Tours, and he knew when athletes needed to take EPO to regenerate their blood supply after extracting blood. He was present when blood transfusions were given. He even personally provided drugs to the riders on occasion.”

Bruyneel convinced Zabriskie to take his first EPO injection by reportedly telling him that everyone was doing it.

The USADA documents describes the moment as follows: “David was cornered. He had embraced cycling to escape a life seared by drugs and now he felt that he could not say no and stay in his mentor’s good graces.”

“He looked to [Michael] Barry for support but he did not find it. Barry’s mind was made up. Barry had decided to use EPO, and he reinforced Bruyneel’s opinions that EPO use was required for success in the peloton.

"The group retired to Barry’s apartment where both David and Barry were injected with EPO by Dr. del Moral. Thus began a new stage in David Zabriskie’s cycling career – the doping stage. Cycling was no longer David’s refuge from drugs. When he went back to his room that night he cried.”

The section on Bruyneel concludes: “Bruyneel’s relationship with these young riders tell us much, both about the character of the man who served as Lance Armstrong’s handpicked Team Director for nine seasons and about the pervasiveness of the doping on the USPS and Discovery Channel teams, affording as well additional insight into the people Armstrong surrounded himself with and their familiarity with, openness toward, and involvement in doping.”

Bruyneel is still the general manager of the current RadioShack-Nissan team.

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