Video testimonies against Bruyneel, Celaya and Marti given in doping hearing
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Video testimonies against Bruyneel, Celaya and Marti given in doping hearing

by Shane Stokes at 3:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
AAA hearing begins yesterday in London, will continue this week

Johan BruyneelAlthough USADA has refused to comment on whether or not Johan Bruyneel’s doping hearing is taking place in London, VeloNation has learned that the process did indeed begin yesterday and that a number of witnesses have already given evidence.

A source with knowledge of the situation today confirmed to this site that video testimony was provided yesterday in relation to the charges Bruyneel, former US Postal team doctor Pedro Celaya and former team coach Pepe Marti are facing.

All have been accused of serious doping violations, and are facing lengthy bans from the sport.

The team’s top rider Lance Armstrong has already been given a lifetime ban after he declined to fight the charges against him.

VeloNation understands that the three defendants were absent yesterday, but had legal representatives there defending them. Early indications are that they are not contesting charges that they administered a number of banned substances, but are denying administering blood transfusions.

The reason for this is not certain but it echoes the Operacion Puerto case, where Eufemiano Fuentes sought to dismiss charges that he endangered public health through the transfusions of improperly stored blood transfusions.

It is understood that the witnesses have however contradicted this defence, testifing that transfusions were indeed carried out on team members.

Unconfirmed suggestions from the hearing state that Bruyneel had sought to bypass USADA’s American Arbitration Association (AAA) hearing in London and instead wanted things to move straight to adjudication by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. However this was refused.

The source has told VeloNation that the process is not being transcribed.

Prior to this latest information, there were previously doubts about whether or not Bruyneel would defend himself. Last month he told RTL that he was likely to walk away from the sport, thus prompting speculation that he wouldn’t appear at the AAA hearing.

“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 then.

“I don’t see myself as the devil. People are trying to picture myself and Lance as the bad guys. They want to blame it all on [us], I think that is happening.”

He said that he was trying to move on. However the confirmation that he has legal representation and the hearings are proceeding show that he isn’t giving up just yet.

In its reasoned decision USADA said it was satisfied that he was central to the team’s doping programme. “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,” it said in that document, released last October.

“He alerted the team to the likely presence of testers. He communicated with Dr. Ferrari about his stars’ doping programs. 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.”

It also laid out details of Celaya’s work with the team. “The heavy involvement of Dr. Celaya in
the team doping program on the U.S. Postal Service/Discovery Channel team during 1997 through 1998 and 2004 through 2005 corroborates USADA’s substantial direct evidence of Lance Armstrong’s doping and strongly supports the conclusion that Lance Armstrong engaged in doping as charged by USADA,” it wrote then.

It described Marti as ‘the principal drug runner’ for the team. It argued that ‘the evidence is clear that one of Jose “Pepe” Marti’s principal roles on the U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel cycling teams was to assist with the team’s doping operation.

“The fact that the cycling team, of which Armstrong was a part owner and over which he had extensive control over the selection and retention of employees, employed a drug courier corroborates USADA’s substantial direct evidence of Lance Armstrong’s doping and strongly supports the conclusion that Lance Armstrong engaged in doping as charged by USADA.”

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