Bruyneel: I hit rock bottom after US Postal scandal

Johan Bruyneel has opened up about the personal difficulties he went through after he was banned from cycling for 10 years – later increased to life – for his part in the US Postal doping conspiracy.

In an interview with Dutch journalist Raymond Kerckhoffs for his Cycling Opinions (opens in new tab) website, the Belgian revealed that the fallout from the USADA report cost him his marriage and also saw him receive medical help for mental and physical problems.

"I'm the perfect example of someone who was on top of the world and who suddenly fell from grace at a breath-taking speed," Bruyneel said in the video. "I fell from a great height and then you come to the conclusion that you're all alone in the world.

"Sometimes, I have the feeling that I'd really hit rock bottom and that I'd never recover. I was given medical help, both mental and physical, throughout that time.

"Sometimes I'd meet someone who said, 'It's amazing that you're still standing.'"

Bruyneel, who was joined in being issued a lifetime ban from Olympic sport by Lance Armstrong, Michele Ferrari and several team staff members, also reflected on his time as manager of the team.

The 55-year-old said that his main regret from the time was the arrogance and behaviour rather than the doping itself.

"Do I regret the doping? That's a very difficult question. In fact, my biggest regret is how we were so arrogant and the way we behaved. I think that doping was inevitable and quite possibly still is.

"It's a pity that we found ourselves in an era where what we said was, 'Ok, if that's how it is, we'll do it. If we want to survive then that's what has to be done.' There was no choice."

Bruyneel and his main charge, Armstrong, kept in contact throughout and after the investigations into US Postal, and told of how the Texan helped him through the dark periods in his life following the scandal.

"We've shared so many things," Bruyneel said. "He was there for me and me likewise. When I was in really deep trouble, and there were many times when I was in really deep trouble, he was there – unquestioning and without hesitating: 'What do you need?'"

"I think that that reinforced our bond," he added.

Bruyneel recently started up a sports management company, 7evenPlusTwo. He concluded the interview by stating that he was proud of how he's come through his personal difficulties.

"When I look back at it all, there is of course so much I would have preferred not to have done or gone through but now, when I look at myself and see who I am and where I am, how I look at life, well I'm proud of myself."

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