Bruyneel: I'm no devil

Former US Postal Service and RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel has said that he would like to speak publicly about his role in the Lance Armstrong affair but his lawyers have told him not to.

Armstrong confessed to doping during his time at US Postal Postal under Bruyneel’s management and confirmed that there was a systematic doping programme in place on the team.

“After a long silence, I am eager to speak my mind but my lawyers have instructed me to stay quiet,” Bruyneel told Belgian magazine Humo. “The current procedures make it impossible. But I can say one thing: I’m no devil. The public may think that but eventually everyone will get a better understanding of the situation and that image will change.”

Bruyneel was removed as manager of the RadioShack squad in October following the publication of USADA’s Reasoned Decision on the Armstrong case. He is mentioned repeatedly in USADA’s dossier on the doping culture in place on the US Postal Service team.

A nine-page section titled “Johan Bruyneel’s involvement in doping” includes rigorous detail of the Belgian’s organisation of the doping programme at the team and states: “The overwhelming evidence in this case is that Johan Bruyneel was intimately involved in all significant details of the US Postal team’s doping program […] He was on top of the details for organising blood transfusion programs before the major Tours, and he knew when athletes needed to take EPO to regenerate their blood supply after extracting blood.”

Bruyneel did not refute those allegations outright in the Humo interview, but he did deny that he had placed his riders’ health at risk. “These accusations hit me very heavily and when my mother calls me in tears because she has read something bad about me, that breaks my heart,” Bruyneel said. “I can look anyone in the eye, I’ve never put anyone’s health at risk.”

Bruyneel also expressed his belief that the details of US Postal’s doping programme would never have been uncovered had Armstrong not come out of retirement in 2009 and had RadioShack offered Floyd Landis a contract in 2010. Landis’ emails to USADA in April 2010 triggered the federal and sporting investigations into the US Postal Service team that ultimately led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life.

“If Armstrong had not come back and if I had included Landis in the squad again, all of this would never have happened. I am two hundred percent convinced of that. Without those two facts, we would be talking completely differently,” Bruyneel said.

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