Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
Four years — almost to the day — after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released its Reasoned Decision detailing evidence of doping activities of Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Postal Service Cycling team, Belgian Johan Bruyneel is facing an arbitration panel at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, appealing a 10-year suspension handed to him by the American Arbitration Association in April 2014.
Asked for comment, USADA’s general counsel Bill Bock declined, but confirmed with CyclingTips that Bruyneel’s appeal to CAS would be held this week in Switzerland. The hearing is not listed on the CAS website’s calendar of upcoming hearings. Bruyneel did not reply when asked for comment.
At the time he was handed a 10-year ban, which was backdated to June 11, 2012 — the date he was initially charged with an anti-doping violation — Bruyneel acknowledged on his website that “doping was a fact of life in the peloton,” but he did not accept USADA’s jurisdiction.
“From the very outset of this matter, I have disputed — and continue to dispute — the authority or jurisdiction of the AAA and/or the United States Anti-Doping Agency as it pertains to me,” Bruyneel wrote. “I am a Belgian national and I reside in the United Kingdom. I have never been a member of USA Cycling, nor any other national governing body of sport based in the United States. I have never signed any document or agreement granting USADA or the AAA any authority over my livelihood or me. None of the anti-doping rule violations alleged by USADA are said to have occurred on U.S. soil. It simply cannot be correct or acceptable that USADA, a U.S. organization, is freely able to determine the livelihood of any individual that it chooses to prosecute, without boundary and without oversight.”
USADA’s Reasoned Decision — 1000 pages of evidence and sworn testimony — was released on October 10, 2012, four months after Armstrong and Bruyneel had been charged with anti-doping violations.
In the same April 2014 ruling as Bruyneel’s 10-year ban, team doctor Pedro Celaya and trainer Jose ‘Pepe” Marti, who worked under Bruyneel at USPS, were handed eight-year sanctions. And while Bruyneel is seeking a reduction in his 10-year ban, the World Anti-Doping Agency has pushed to extend his suspension, presumably to a lifetime ban.
In a June 2014 statement, WADA wrote, “In appealing the AAA’s decision to CAS, WADA requests that consideration be given to longer sanctions for all three individuals involved in order to best protect athletes, and ensure a clean sport of cycling. UCI and USADA are supportive of the appeal to seek longer sanctions, and will provide support to WADA during this process.”
In February 2015, a CAS hearing date was set for March 2015, without resolution. As both sides have appealed, those appeals have been consolidated for consideration at this week’s hearing, a source with intimate knowledge told CyclingTips.
Last week, American Tom Danielson — a witness in the 2012 USADA case against Armstrong and Bruyneel, and a potential witness in USADA’s case before CAS this week — was handed a four-year suspension by USADA for a second offense.
Danielson claimed he was given a reduced sanction, due to proving that he had taken contaminated supplement, prompting Armstrong to post “Interesting timing..” on Twitter; Danielson’s case had been unresolved for 14 months.
USADA, however, disputed Danielson’s claim, saying that, “At no point during USADA’s investigation were we presented with scientific evidence suggesting that Mr. Danielson’s positive test resulted from a contaminated product.”