RadioShack-Nissan will be without its general manager in this year's Tour de France, as Johan Bruyneel has decided to stay away from the race after being embroiled in a possible doping case with the US Anti Doping Agency (USADA).
Bruyneel was named along with other former staff of the US Postal Service team and Lance Armstrong in charges of widespread, organised doping within his former team. USADA is currently considering whether to issue an anti-doping rule violation after it collected evidence in the form of multiple witness testimonies corroborating the doping allegations. Bruyneel has repeatedly asserted his innocence of the charges.
USADA's investigation is separate from a now-closed US federal probe into the same topic.
"I’m sad to say that I’ve decided that for the first time in many years I will not be attending this year’s Tour de France," Bruyneel stated on his personal web site. "The story of the Tour should be the achievements of its riders and the thrill of our great sport. I dearly wish to be there but my attendance in light of the recent USADA allegations against me would be an unwelcome distraction to my team, and to all those participating in and supporting the Tour.
"This is why I’ve decided - after consulting with the Team’s main sponsors and in agreement with the Senior Management of Leopard - not to attend the race. It is unfortunate that these latest, unfounded accusations have resulted in my withdrawal from the Tour, although I hope to prove my innocence and resolve this matter soon and once and for all."
Bruyneel is the most successful team director in Tour history, and has Armstrong's seven titles and Alberto Contador's 2007 and 2009 victories to his name.
Last week, Leopard SA, the owners of the team, issued a statement clarifying that none of the alleged activities took place in the current team's structure, and vowed to "take all appropriate measures, in order to guarantee its sporting integrity and the general interest of cycling".