Johan Bruyneel insists that RadioShack-Nissan team will continue
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Johan Bruyneel insists that RadioShack-Nissan team will continue

by Ben Atkins at 4:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
License, sponsors and riders all in place for next year despite USADA case hanging over Belgian team manager

johan bruyneelJohan Bruyneel fully expects the RadioShack-Nissan team to be in the peloton until at least 2014, the Belgian has told Spanish sportspaper Marca. Despite the charges levelled on Bruyneel, which could see the 47-year-old banned from the sport for life, he is currently in Spain, directing the Luxembourg-registered team from the following car.

The team has been beset with problems in 2012, in addition to Bruyneel - and team doctor Pedro Celaya - being charged with taking part in the “USPS Conspiracy”, which alleges systematic doping throughout Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France domination. Riders have complained of the late delivery of salaries, injuries and in-fighting have prevented the team from taking the results it expected, and Fränk Schleck - one of the team’s biggest stars - tested positive for banned diuretic Xipamide during the Tour de France.

Despite all this, Bruyneel insists that the team will be back in a similar form next season.

“We are licensed for two years and some sponsors, like Trek, have committed two years,” he told Marca. “Radioshack and Nissan have one more. There are important riders signed until 2014; I have also two more years.

“At a minimum, the team will continue until 2014.”

USADA formally charged Bruyneel - along with Armstrong, Celaya, as well as controversial doctors Michele Ferrari and Luis Garcia Del Moral, and trainer Pepe Marti - on June 28th, just two days before the start of the Tour de France. As a result of this, the Belgian did not attend the race but, with the International Cycling Union (UCI) refusing to recognise USADA’s jurisdiction in the case, he is not prevented from directing the team, and so he is in the team car at the Vuelta.

“I decided it was best [not to go to the Tour],” he said “USADA laid the charges just before, to which by the way I do not agree, but to give peace of mind and to avoid controversy, I decided to not go.”

For Bruyneel, 2012 has been a difficult year, with issues within his team overshadowing its performance, in addition to the “USPS Conspiracy” allegations.

“That’s true, I would basically say two issues,” he acknowledged. “The USADA charges, to which I am defending myself, and the merger between two structures [the 2011 Radioshack and Leopard-Trek teams - ed].

“It’s been a difficult year.”

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