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Lance Armstrong’s old boss launches scathing attack on “selfie king” David Lappartient, as UCI president also criticised for using phone while cycling for Pogačar clip

Johan Bruyneel claimed Lappartient is only interested in being “seen alongside important and influential figures”, and is simply using cycling to further his political ambitions

He may be serving a lifetime ban from professional cycling but, just like his disgraced former protégé, Johan Bruyneel still can’t seem to resist weighing in on the sport and the people who run it. And while Lance Armstrong’s hot cycling takes are now confined to his podcast, overpriced Balearic training camps, and the occasional reality TV show, ex-US Postal manager Bruyneel has taken to expressing his clear distaste for UCI president David Lappartient through the famously conciliatory medium of social media.

In November, the controversial Belgian compared Lappartient to former Turkmenistan dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, after the UCI president threatened to ban cyclocross riders who didn’t participate in World Cup events from the discipline’s world championships.

And this week, in response to a clip posted by Lappartient on Twitter, which showed the head of the governing body enjoying an admittedly stilted chat with two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar while cycling in Abu Dhabi, banned directeur sportif Bruyneel claimed the Frenchman cares more about being seen with influential figures and facilitating his own rise within the sporting administrative ranks than furthering professional cycling.

Lappartient, who ousted former UCI president Brian Cookson in 2017, was riding with Pogačar in Abu Dhabi as part of the governing body’s launch of its partnership with UAE-based virtual cycling platform MyWhoosh, which will sponsor the next three world road race championships.

However, it’s clear that Bruyneel – who was behind the wheel of the team car for all seven of Armstrong’s Tour de France victories, and whose 10-year doping suspension was extended to a lifetime ban in 2018 – isn’t too impressed with what he regards as the Frenchman’s alleged hypocrisy and careerist ambitions.

“David the Selfie King! He is everywhere, this sacred omnipresent David!,” Bruyneel tweeted under the UCI president’s clip. “The most important thing for him is to be seen alongside important and influential figures, the Pope, President Macron, the President of Korea, his friend Thomas Bach, the Ballon d’Or, etc.

“All with one specific objective: the presidency of the IOC. What many know but no one ever says: he doesn’t really care about cycling.

“The worst part is that he will succeed in his bet. Sooner or later he will get there. In the meantime, he travels around the world carrying out his dozen official functions… Half a million euros per year for nothing to do at the UCI. You have to do it anyway. It seems that this champion sleeps very little.”

Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel at the 2009 Tour Down Under (licensed CC BY 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons by Paul Coster)

> Lance Armstrong’s former boss Johan Bruyneel brands David Lappartient a “dictator” after UCI president threatens to ban cyclocross riders who skip World Cup events from world championships

While Lappartient took up a position in the International Olympic Committee in 2022 – the same year he earned an uncontested second term as UCI president – and was elected head of France’s Olympic Committee last year, he is yet to clarify his ambitions within the IOC.

“Already being present at all the events to be photographed and/or receive medals is quite a magic trick,” Bruyneel continued.

“The most omnipresent president of cycling but in the end, what has this gentleman already accomplished? NOTHING! His personal political career above all, his presidency at the UCI is only a simple step in his political escalation towards the highest level of the IOC. (Save this tweet for later, in a few years I’ll tell you: I told you so!)”

When asked, somewhat sarcastically, if he “liked” the UCI president, Bruyneel added: “Safe to say I don’t… I really dislike his hypocrisy.”

McQuaid and Bruyneel (copyright aerocha:Flickr)

Bruyneel enjoying a somewhat friendlier, in-person chat with another former UCI president, Pat McQuaid, before the Belgian was banned from the sport for being “at the apex” of US Postal’s doping programme in the 1990s and 2000s

Of course, as mentioned above, this isn’t the first time that the DS known to cycling fans as ‘the Hog’ has publicly voiced his disdain for Lappartient on social media.

In November, the UCI president was roundly criticised for what many perceived to be an attack on up-and-coming young cyclocross star Thibau Nys, who missed a World Cup race in Dendermonde citing tiredness following his first full pro year on the road with Lidl-Trek.

“Thibau Nys is someone who needs cyclocross, but he is not the only one who ignores World Cups. The World Cup is not a ranking from which you can simply choose to your heart’s content,” the Frenchman said at the time.

“If a cyclocross rider prefers a national competition while there is a World Cup, he will not participate in the next World Cup and therefore also not the cyclocross World Championships. The World Cup is not a competition where you can choose what you want to ride. Everyone just has to participate.”

Lappartient’s threat to exclude World Cup-skipping riders from the cyclocross world championships prompted Bruyneel to compare him – rather unflatteringly – to puppy-gifting Turkmenistan dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.

“[The UCI president] starts to show personality traits similar to the former Turkmenistan dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow (whom he awarded the ‘UCI Order’ in 2020, the highest possible honour in cycling!),” the 59-year-old former Tour yellow jersey wearer wrote.

“Or is it perhaps possible he is too confused and gives comments in interviews on subjects at moments that, due to his extremely busy agenda (holding an official leading position at 10 different organisations!), he isn’t able to see the forest for the trees anymore? Working 85 hours a week takes its toll on the mind after all…”

> Why was Mark Cavendish riding with Lance Armstrong this week?

Meanwhile, Lappartient’s short clip with cycling’s Slovenian superstar – and, in particular, his use of a phone while cycling – ensured that the social media criticism of the UCI president’s actions was not solely limited to long rants from disgraced former team bosses.

“In Abu Dhabi can you take a video with your mobile while you’re riding?” asked jbarrei. “What an amazing example!”

“Bad example. If we want security and respect from car drivers we have to make the same without on board video/photo selfies,” the Jabatos Running Club account wrote.

“Lappartient giving an example, the important thing is to measure socks during races or spend thousands of euros on scanners to search for engines,” said Javi Bas. “We’ll leave users’ awareness of what not to do on a bike to the road death associations.”

All that for an 11-second clip…

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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