Johan Bruyneel, Lance Armstrong’s long-time team director, has been banned for 10 years by the American Arbitration Association.
Armstrong was given a life ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and stripped of all results dating from August 1998 – including seven Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005 – after USADA’s investigation into the United States Postal Service team uncovered widespread doping and he opted not to challenge the ruling.
Bruyneel, who worked with Armstrong at the US Postal and Discovery Channel teams, was widely implicated in USADA’s report, but took his case to an three-person arbitration panel in London last December and was banned until June 11, 2022.
Team doctor Pedro Celaya and trainer Jose ’Pepe’ Marti were given eight-year bans for their roles in what USADA described in August 2012 as “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen”.
A USADA statement read: “All three committed multiple anti-doping rule violations over many years.
“The panel found that ’the evidence establishes conclusively that Mr Bruyneel was at the apex of a conspiracy to commit widespread doping on the USPS and Discovery Channel teams spanning many years and many riders.
“’Similarly, Dr Celaya and Mr Marti were part of, or at least allowed themselves to be used as instruments of, that conspiracy’.”
Belgian Bruyneel responded in his personal blog, while questioning USADA’s jurisdiction over him and raising the prospect of challenging his ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“I do not dispute that there are certain elements of my career that I wish had been different,” Bruyneel, who refused to testify at the arbitration hearing, wrote on johanbruyneel.com.
“Nor do I dispute that doping was a fact of life in the peloton for a considerable period of time.
“However, a very small minority of us has been used as scapegoats for an entire generation.
“There is clearly something wrong with a system that allows only six individuals to be punished as retribution for the sins of an era.”
Bruyneel was found to have trafficked performance-enhancing drugs, encouraged their use and to have profited from the success of his riders during a doping-ravaged period in the professional peloton.
“Bruyneel encouraged athletes to use doping products including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, and cortisone,” USADA said.
He remained in cycling after Armstrong’s 2005 retirement and was the Texan’s team director on his return with Astana in 2009 and Team RadioShack in 2010. Bruyneel left RadioShack in 2012.
The trio were the latest US Postal staff to be sanctioned, joining Dr Michele Ferrari and Dr Luis Garcia del Moral, who were each given life bans.