CAS says Bruyneel was 'at the apex of a multitude of doping violations'

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has given former USPS team doctor Pedro Celaya Lezama a lifetime ban and former team coach Jose Martí Martí a fifteen year ban, extending eight-year bans imposed by the USADA in 2014.

The CAS also extended the 10-year ban on Johan Bruyneel to a lifetime ban, in the decision announced this week.

"The CAS Panel found that the totality of the evidence presented before it painted a very clear picture: from 1997 to 2007, Messrs Bruyneel, Martí and Celaya participated in an elaborate and highly successful doping scheme with Mr Bruyneel at the apex of a multitude of doping violations and Mr Martí and Dr Celaya as the indispensable participants in this widespread and systematic doping program," the CAS said in its press release.

"The CAS Panel unanimously concluded that in the circumstances, lifetime ineligibility was an appropriate sanction for Messrs Bruyneel and Celaya, and that a period of ineligibility of 15 years was appropriate for Mr Martí."

The USADA announced their bans in April 2014, and in June of that year the WADA appealed that decision to the CAS, calling for longer bans for the three.

Bruyneel argued against the legality of USADA imposing any sanction, questioning their jurisdiction over him as a former Belgian licence holder, that USADA violated his right to confidentiality, and denied that there was ever an arbitration agreement with USADA.

But the CAS struck down each of those arguments, and, after hearing testimony from witnesses such as former USPS team doctor Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral, and former riders George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Tyler Hamilton, Dave Zabriskie, Tom Danielson, Levi Leipheimer, and Michael Barry, came to the conclusion that Bruyneel's 10-year ban imposed by USADA was insufficient.

Bruyneel was charged with multiple anti-doping rule violations, including: Trafficking, administration, assisting, encouraging or abetting, covering up and other complicity in doping violations, and other aggravating circumstances.

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