THE FORMER team manager of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, believes he has been made a “scapegoat” for a series of doping scandals that have rocked the sport after being handed a 10-year ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Bruyneel worked alongside Armstrong with the United States Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams for all seven of his Tour de France victories between 1999 and 2005.
Those have since been discredited after Armstrong opted not to contest drug charges and later confessed to using banned substances, including blood-booster EPO.
Usada said in a statement: “The evidence establishes conclusively that Bruyneel was at the apex of a conspiracy to commit widespread doping.” It also handed eight-year bans to doctor Pedro Celaya and trainer Jose Marti for their involvement.
Bruyneel does not deny doping was prevalent in cycling but is unimpressed that punishments have not been more widespread.
“I do not dispute that there are certain elements of my career that I wish had been different, nor do I dispute that doping was a fact of life in the peloton for a considerable period of time,” said the 49-year-old.
“However, a very small minority of us has been used as scapegoats for an entire generation. There is clearly something wrong with a system that allows only six individuals to be punished as retribution for the sins of an era.”
Armstrong was given a lifetime ban from cycling in 2012.