Bruyneel leaves role as general manager of RadioShack following USADA report
Belgian was Armstrong's team manager between 1999-2005
Bruyneel to fight charges in hearing before independent judge
Fabian Cancellera admitted he may no longer be able to work with Bruyneel
Johan Bruyneel has become the first victim of a United States government investigation into Lance Armstrong and doping.
Armstrong was part of “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,” the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday in releasing more than 1,000 pages of evidence in the case.
Bruyneel, who was a close confidante of Armstrong during his seven Tour de France wins, has left his post as general manager of RadioShack by mutual agreement.
Bruyneel was named in the USADA report which alleged that he was involved in helping Armstrong organize doping within the US Postal Team.
“From this day on, Johan Bruyneel will no longer act in the position of general manager of cycling team RadioShack Nissan Trek,” a statement said on the team’s website.
But Bruyneel says he is disappointed with the way he has been treated and says the USADA may have harmed his chances of a fair trial.
“I am surprised and extremely disappointed that USADA released information in the public domain relating to their pending case against me before I had been given any opportunity to review the evidence and provide my defence against it,” he told AFP.
“I still hope to be able to defend myself in a forum free from bias, although I now fear that USADA’s calculated action may have irreversibly prejudiced my case.
“It is a troubling facet of USADA’s approach to this case that it appears not to respect basic principles such as the right to be heard and the presumption of innocence.”
The Belgian was Armstrong’s team manager when the Texan won his seven tour victories between 1999-2005.
He also worked alongside Armstrong in 2009 and 20010 following his three-and-a-half year spell away from cycling.
Bruyneel along with team doctor Pedro Celaya and team trainer Jose “Pepe” Marti will all receive a hearing before an independent judge to fight the charges following the report.
Bruyneel’s departure comes after RadioShack rider Fabian Cancellara claimed he was close to leaving the team following the report.
“Johan’s name is cited 129 times in the report,” Cancellara was quoted as saying by the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
“I don’t know if I can still work with Johan. We’ll see what happens next. I want to know what happened.”