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This time every year cycling royalty descends on Paris for the announcement of the following year’s Tour de France route. It’s a day fraught with anticipation. However, sporting’s highest court, CAS, undercut the Tour’s celebratory day by dropping an announcement of its own. Johan Bruyneel was handed a lifetime ban for his role in the doping scandals of the early 2000s.
Story of the day: CAS extends Bruyneel’s ban to lifetime
Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong now have something in common. Besides duping cycling fans worldwide during Armstrong’s run of seven consecutive Tour de France victories, they are now both banned for life from the sport of cycling.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) banned the former Belgian professional and director sportif for life, ruling in favour of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) appeal for a lifetime ban on Bruyneel’s already 10-year sanction. Along with Bruyneel’s sanction, CAS also handed a lifetime ban to former USPS team doctor Pedro Celaya, while trainer Jose Marti’s sanction was extended from eight to 15 years.
Bruyneel penned an open letter regarding the lifetime ban. He tried to shrug off the lifetime ban as simply something symbolic saying, “Although there’s effectively nothing I can do against this sanction and at 54 years of age, a 10-year ban or a lifetime ban is practically the same.” He did go on to defend himself during an era where Armstrong, the USPS team, and he were by no means the only ones involved in doping.
“Without going into the details in this letter, I would simply like to observe that we were all the children of our era, facing the pitfalls and temptations that were part of the culture at the time,” Bruyneel wrote. “We didn’t always make the best choices.”
While Armstrong settled with the U.S. Government in its case that he defrauded the Government by doping, Bruyneel’s involvement seems to be forever ongoing. The U.S. Government ordered Bruyneel to pay US$1.2 million in damages earlier this year, but since Bruyneel is neither American nor does he live in the U.S., the Government has no authority to force him to pay the damages. If Bruyneel comes to the U.S., which seems unlikely, then the U.S. Government could detain him and force him to pay.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) also sent a statement to multiple individuals heavily involved in the case against Armstrong and Bruyneel regarding CAS’ decision. Floyd Landis was one of those individuals and responded with a scathing letter, which can be seen below.
Yesterday, US Anti-Doping Agency general counsel Bill Bock sent an email to Floyd Landis, among others, regarding CAS decision to issue a lifetime ban to former US Postal Service manager Johan Bruyneel. This was Landis’ reply, which I was copied on. (Shared with his permission.) pic.twitter.com/kPHnXpQlaG
— Neal Rogers (@nealrogers) October 25, 2018
A Tour for the climbers
The 2019 Tour de France is one for the climbers. Thirty categorised climbs rated cat. 2 or higher dot the route, along with five summit finishes (three above 2,000 metres), and just 54 kilometres of time trialing. It’s most certainly one for the mountain goats and ASO appears to be playing into the favour of French hopefuls Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).
That said, is there such a thing as a route that’s bad for Sky? The team seems to be able to bounce from one strength to another.
Time trial specialists Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) lamented the lack of significant TT kilometres. While defending champion Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) didn’t rule out attempting the Giro d’Italia and Tour double, despite the climb-heavy second half of the Grand Boucle.
Click through to get a full rundown and analysis of the 2019 Tour de France route.
A day after Quick-Step team boss Patrick Lefevere confirmed Fernando Gaviria’s departure, UAE Team Emirates announced the Colombian sprinter signed a three-year deal. The team said he would be present at the squad’s first training camp in preparation for the 2019 season, which starts tomorrow and runs through October 30.
Enve expands on gravel product range, now with handlebars and a new fork
Following the recent release of its gravel-specific G Series G23 and G27 wheels, Enve has a new handlebar and fork to match. Both are said to feature a carbon laminate that offers greater control and comfort. The handlebar features a flared shape that’s 12cm wider at the drops than the hoods, and with two notable hand positions at the drops. The bar is available in widths from 42 to 48cm (measured at the hoods), features a wider clamping area for use with accessories (or bags) and internal plumbing for electronic gearing.
The G Series fork offers a 50mm rake and clearance for up to 50mm rubber. It is fender compatible, set up for use with flat-mount disc brakes and weights 520g. The handlebar retails for US$350 and the fork is US$550, both available now.
Hayes buys Reynolds Cycling
Hayes Performance Systems, a company best known for its hydraulic disc brakes, has acquired Reynolds Cycling for an undisclosed figure. As reported by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, the purchase provides the Hayes group with a “complete line of carbon wheels for all types of cycling.” The Hayes group also owns Wheelsmith (spokes), Sunringle (alloy rims), Protaper and Manitou suspension.
Happy Birthday to …
Davide Formolo (26). The Italian stormed onto the scene with an emphatic stage victory at the Giro d’Italia in 2015 at just 22-years-old. However, to this day it remains his only victory as a professional. Formolo has slowly matured into a general classification contender, twice finishing 10th overall at the Giro.
In case you missed it …
Review: Pro Cycling Manager allows you to become a pro cyclist and write your own story. Managing Editor Matt de Neef spent some quality time playing the game’s 2018 version. Also, check out his reviews of the 2013 and 2014 versions of PCM.
Nerd Alert: “Why the hell is your rear suspension always better than your front suspension?” Prolific suspension designer Dave Weagle constantly asked himself this question. Our Tech Editor James Huang tested Weagle’s new front fork, where he threw out the rulebook for conventional suspension forks.
Today’s feature image: A younger Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong have a laugh prior to the 2003 Tour de France, as the Texan goes through the mandatory medical check.