USADA tight-lipped on subject of Bruyneel’s anti-doping hearing scheduled for this week
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

USADA tight-lipped on subject of Bruyneel’s anti-doping hearing scheduled for this week

by Shane Stokes at 12:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Questions about whether or not the Belgian will fight charges against him

Johan BruyneelAlthough Johan Bruyneel’s arbitration hearing is understood to be due to take place this week in London, there are no indications if the case is indeed going ahead.

The US Anti Doping Agency (USADA) was tight-lipped on the subject yesterday, declining to clarify if the Belgian was likely to turn up. “I am afraid we can’t comment at this time,” USADA spokesperson Annie Skinner told VeloNation after being asked for an update on the status of the procedure.

Questions arose about Bruyneel’s intention to fight the charges against him when he told RTL in November that he was likely to walk away from the sport.

“I’m thinking more and more…I’ve been starting to make this decision in the last few weeks. With the charges against me, I’ve made a decision that I’m pretty much done with cycling, because I don’t see a change,” said the former Belgian professional, who managed Lance Armstrong during all seven of his now-stripped Tour de France wins.

The website Roadcycling.com stated in October that the hearing would take place between December 16th and 20th, in other words from Monday until Friday of this week. Former team doctor Pedro Celaya and the coach Jose "Pepe" Marti are also due to fight their own charges at the same hearing.

L’Equipe journalists suggested yesterday via Twitter that Bruyneel had decided not to show up, but there has been no official confirmation of that.

In June of last year USADA made formal doping charges against Armstrong, Bruyneel and others, laying out charges in a range of areas.

The Belgian team director was facing five serious claims against him. They were listed as follows:

(1) Possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfiision equipment and blood parameters measuring devices), testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids, and masking agents, as described
in more detail above.

(2) Trafficking of EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids and masking agents as described in more detail above.

(3) Administration and/or attempted administration of EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids, and masking agents as described in more detail above.

(4) Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up and other complicit); involving one or more anti-doping rule violations and/or attempted anti—doping rule violations.

(5) Aggravating circumstances justifying a period of ineligibility greater than the standard sanction.

USADA gave more details in the subsequently-published reasoned decision, concluding that Bruyneel had broken numerous regulations.

“The overwhelming evidence in this case is that Johan Bruyneel was intimately involved in all significant details of the U.S. Postal team’s doping program. He alerted the team to the likely presence of testers. He communicated with Dr. Ferrari about his stars’ doping programs,” it stated.

“He was on top of the details for organizing blood transfusion programs before the major Tours, and he knew when athletes needed to take EPO to regenerate their blood supply after extracting blood. He was present when blood transfusions were given. He even personally provided drugs to the riders on occasion.”

Armstrong declined to contest the charges against him and was subsequently handed a lifetime ban from the sport. He finally admitted long term doping while speaking to Oprah Winfrey in January. More recently Armstrong implicated the doping doctor Michele Ferrari and Hein Verbruggen in matters relating to drug use on the team, saying that Ferrari gave advice on avoiding detection during the 2000 Tour and that Verbruggen had been involved in helping Armstrong evade a sanction when he tested positive for a corticiosteroid during the 1999 race.

The latter, who presided over the UCI until 2005, has denied being involved.

His role and that of the more recent UCI president Pat McQuaid will be evaluated when the UCI launches a new Independent Commission early next year.

As for Bruyneel, he could in theory already be blocked from the sport by then, particuarly if he chooses not to turn up at his own hearing.

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