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Johan Bruyneel: Cycle helmet saved my skull

Ex-US Postal manager posts picture of cracked lid to Twitter after crash in Spain

Johan Bruyneel has tweeted a picture of his cycle helmet which cracked following a crash today – and says that if he hadn’t been wearing it, it could have been his skull that was broken.

The 51-year-old Belgian, who as manager of US Postal and Discovery Channel led Lance Armstrong to the seven Tour de France victories between 1999 and 2005 he was stripped of in 2012, told his followers he had “lost balance” in what he described as “an innocent crash.”

As a rider, Bruyneel won two Tour de France stages and also wore the race leader’s yellow jersey.

While most closely linked with Armstrong as a team manager, he also guided Alberto Contador to overall Tour de France victories with Discovery Channel in 2007 and Astana in 2009.

The latter race took place during Armstrong’s comeback season with the Kazakh team, the Texan finishing third overall, although he would be stripped of that result too, with Bradley Wiggins moving up to take the final podium spot.

Bruyneel subsequently moved with Armstrong to the new RadioShack team for the 2010 season and remained with it when it merged with Leopard-Trek to form RadioShack-Nissan.

He was sacked by the Luxembourg outfit in October 2012 after the United States Anti-Doping Agency published its reasoned decision following its investigation of doping at US Postal.

In April last year Bruyneel, who is based in London and Madrid – this week, he’s been riding in Spain – was banned from involvement with sport for 10 years as a result of the US Postal scandal.

Unlike Armstrong, who confessed to doping in early 2013, Bruyneel had protested his innocence and chose, unsuccessfully, to submit to arbitration.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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