Johan Bruyneel is reportedly set to co-operate with prosecutors leading an investigation into doping being conducted by the Royal Belgian Cycling Federation, the RLVB. He is also reportedly working on a book that will apparently put his side of the story at US Postal.
The Belgian national managed Lance Armstrong at USPS, Astana and RadioShack and faces similar charges form the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) to his former rider, although Bruyneel has chosen to fight them through arbitration.
Originally, that hearing was due to have been heard in November, although as yet no date appears to have been set for it.
According to Belgian state prosecutor Jaak Fransen, quoted on the news website HLN.be, Bruyneel “has now agreed to cooperate with the investigation."
Fransen was speaking this morning, as the cycling world came to terms with last night’s broadcast of Lance Armstrong’s confession of doping during all of his seven Tour de France victories, in all which he was managed by Bruyneel.
He denied doping following his return to the sport with Astana in 2009 or RadioShack in 2010, his rejection of USADA’s findings for that period widely assumed to result from the fact any potential lawsuits from that period would not be subject to a statute of limitations.
The RLVB launched its investigation in 2010 after Floyd Landis went public with allegations against Armstrong and Bruyneel, among others, which both vehemently denied.
Its inquiry was given added impetus last October with USADA’s publication of its Reasoned Decision against Armstrong, which specifically mentioned Bruyneel throughout, with former team riders also providing testimony against him.
Fransen said that Bruyneel had been invited to come and talk to investigators but it had been impossible to schedule a meeting partly because he spends so much time abroad – indeed, he currently resides in London.
In recent days – presumably after it emerged that Armstrong was prepared to confess – contact was renewed to allow Bruyneel an opportunity to give his version of events, and a meeting has now been scheduled “in the near future.”
However, the prosecutor cautioned: “ We will have to wait and see whether he will actually confess.”
He added; “As part of the investigation I am obliged to remain silent, so all I can say is that we will have to see if he has committed offenses against our own anti-doping regulations.”
Meanwhile, De Telegraaf has reported that Bruyneel is working on a book that will put his side of the story regarding doping at US Postal, the Dutch newspaper saying that it will counter accounts previously made by Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, among others.
Bruyneel’s website still proclaims him as “9X Winning Tour de France Sports Director,” although the seven editions won by Armstrong now have the winner’s name left empty.
The other two relate to Alberto Contador, with Discovery Channel in 2007 and Astana in 2009. He and Bruyneel had parted company by 2010, when the Spaniard won the Tour for the third time but was later stripped of that victory after his positive test for clenbuterol.
RadioShack-Nissan sacked Bruyneel as general manager last October following USADA’s publication of its Reasoned Decision. At today’s launch of the team for the 2013 season, under the name RadioShack Leopard Trek, the Livestrong yellow band that previously adorned one sleeve has now disappeared.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.