"Legal tangle" sees Belgian federation suspend action against Johan Bruyneel

Decision to suspend action comes as delays continue over USADA arbitration hearing

by Simon_MacMichael   January 31, 2013  

Johan Bruyneel © Montgomery

The Belgian cycling federation, the KBWB-RLVB, has suspended for now its investigation into former US Postal, Astana and RadioShack-Nissan team manager Johan Bruyneel, citing a “legal tangle.”

The organisation’s president, Tom Van Damme, confirmed the news to Belgian TV channel Sporza during an interview conducted in Louisville, Kentucky, which hosts the world cyclocross championships this weekend.

Bruyneel had reportedly indicated earlier this month that he was prepared to co-operate with the RLVB in its investigation. He had been due to appear before it yesterday, but that hearing did not take place.

The KBWB-RLVB, which has provisionally suspended Bruyneel’s licence, opened its case against him at the request of the UCI in 2010, after Floyd Landis went public with allegations against former US Postal staff including its former manager and Lance Armstrong.

The process is separate to the charges Bruyneel, who lives in London, faces from the United States Anti Doping Agency and which he has decided to fight through arbitration.

Originally, USADA said that the hearing on those charges would take place in November, but nearly three months on there is still no news over when it may be held. We asked USADA for a comment on the reasons for the delay and when the hearing might be held but  a USADA spokesperson told us: "At this time we can’t comment on any ongoing cases."

Van Damme said that the lack of progress on the other side of the Atlantic hadn’t helped the situation.

“We look forward to the next step of USADA. First he [Bruyneel] would be called in November. Then it was December and now we are already in February."

During the interview, Van Damme reaffirmed the national federation's zero tolerance approach to doping but queried whether a truth and reconcilation to uncover past actions was in the best interests of the sport as it looks to move forward.

"You have to handle cases that you can still punish," he maintained.