Johan Bruyneel

Johan Bruyneel (born 23 August 1964) is a Belgian former road bicycle racer in professional cycling and a former directeur sportif for UCI ProTour team RadioShack–Nissan, [1] and U.S. Postal Service (later known as Discovery Channel), a US-based UCI ProTour cycling team. In November 2018, the World Anti Doping Agency imposed a lifetime ban on Bruyneel for his role in a doping scandal that saw Lance Armstrong stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.[2]

Johan Bruyneel
Bruyneel 2009.jpg
Bruyneel in 2009
Personal information
Full nameJohan Bruyneel
Born (1964-08-23) 23 August 1964 (age 56)
Izegem, Belgium
Team information
Professional teams
Managerial teams
1999–2007U.S. Postal Service
2010–2011Team RadioShack
Major wins
Tour de l'Avenir
Rund um den Henninger Turm
Tour de France, 2 stages
Vuelta a España, 1 stage


Professional cyclistEdit

Born in Izegem, Belgium, Bruyneel was a successful professional cyclist. Early wins included the 1990 Tour de l'Avenir, the 1991 Rund um den Henninger Turm, the 1992 Grand Prix des Nations and Coppa Placci, and stage 6 (Evreux > Amiens) and finishing 7th at the 1993 Tour de France. His stage win set the record for fastest stage at 49.417 km/h, since then only broken by two cyclists.[3]

His greatest successes as a pro cyclist came in 1995. At the 1995 Tour de France, he won stage 7, which began in Charleroi and ended in Liège, Belgium, and took the yellow jersey in his home country. Bruyneel launched an escape and was joined by eventual winner Miguel Indurain. The Spaniard took the lead and rode the stage as a time-trial to gain time on his main rivals, with Bruyneel latched onto his wheel, barely able to follow the tempo. He then beat Indurain in the end sprint to win the stage. Bruyneel admitted he felt somewhat uneasy about how he had won. However, the win into Liège afforded him a chance meeting with the King of Belgium during the prize presentations. That same year, Bruyneel achieved his only podium finish in a Grand Tour when he finished 3rd at the 1995 Vuelta a España and won the Aalst criterium.

In the 1996 Tour de France, he missed a curve when descending a hill in stage 7 (Chambéry > Les Arcs), and disappeared into a ravine. The moment was captured by a camera team that was driving right behind the group of descenders. After some time, Bruyneel could be seen climbing out of the ravine and getting back onto his bike to continue the stage, apparently unscathed.[4]

Team directorEdit

Bruyneel (left) with Pat McQuaid during the 2006 Tour of California

Following his retirement from cycling in 1998 at age 34, Bruyneel accepted the position of managing director of the U.S. Postal Service cycling team, whose star, Lance Armstrong, had finished fourth in the 1998 Vuelta a España, but whose team, in Armstrong's words, was "the Bad News Bears, a mismatch of bikes, cars, clothing, equipment," with a total budget of only $3 million.[5] Bruyneel's team promptly won eight of the next nine editions of the Tour de France, with Armstrong winning seven straight prior to his retirement in 2005 and then Alberto Contador winning in 2007 with Levi Leipheimer finishing third. However, Discovery Channel, which had taken over as the sponsor of the team in 2005, decided to withdraw in 2007 in the wake of the sport's extensive doping scandals, and the team disbanded. At that point, Bruyneel's teams had won ten Grand Tour championships in nine years (8 Tours de France, 1 Giro d'Italia (Savoldelli, 2005) and 1 Vuelta a España (Heras, 2003). Seven of these victories have since been nullified with the disqualification of Lance Armstrong from 1999 to 2005 from the Tour de France by USADA with ratification from the UCI

At the time, Bruyneel announced his retirement and his plans to write a book. Bruyneel's book, We Might As Well Win, was published by Houghton Mifflin on 4 June 2008. Also, on 29 May 2008, Bruyneel joined the Board of Directors of World Bicycle Relief. But his retirement did not materialize.

In October 2007, after negotiations with the Kazakh government, Bruyneel was signed to take over control of the embattled Astana team, which had been kicked out of the 2007 Tour de France for doping violations and was in shambles over its doping connections. He brought Discovery's Contador and Leipheimer with him for the 2008 season. Although the team was banned from the Tour de France for its past doping history, Contador won both the 2008 Giro d'Italia and the 2008 Vuelta a España, making Contador the youngest rider to win all three Grand Tour championships. Additionally, Leipheimer finished second at the Vuelta.

Contador's victory in the Tour de France meant that Bruyneel had won four of the last six Grand Tours that his teams entered, and thirteen Grand Tour championships in eleven years (seven of these victories have since been nullified with the disqualification of Lance Armstrong from 1999 to 2005 from the Tour de France by USADA with ratification from the UCI). In 2010, Team RadioShack was formed with sponsorship from Radio Shack and Trek Bicycle Corporation. Bruyneel confirmed his departure from Astana at the end of the 2009 season to join Team RadioShack.[6]

Conviction for dopingEdit

As of May 2010, he was under investigation by the Belgian cycling federation, after being accused by Floyd Landis of involvement in systematic doping while director sportif of Lance Armstrong's US Postal team.[7]

On 28 June 2012, Bruyneel was accused by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), although he is not an American citizen. Allegations include the assumption that Bruyneel was part of a long-running doping conspiracy, including the use of banned methods to augment the performance of the cycling teams that he directed.[8][9] As a result of the allegations, Bruyneel declined to appear at the 2012 Tour de France, where he had been expected to direct the RadioShack-Nissan team.[10]

While some accused in this case, such as Lance Armstrong and Michele Ferrari, did not seek to formally contest the charges via arbitration, Bruyneel asked for an arbitration hearing.[11]

In October 2012, while still waiting for his hearing, Bruyneel left his position as managing director of RadioShack–Nissan, shortly after documents from the USADA case were released to the public. The termination was by mutual agreement with owners of Leopard SA.[12] The day after Armstrong's acknowledgment that he doped during all of his Tours, Bruyneel announced that he would be in Brussels as soon as possible to speak to the Belgian national cycling organization and cooperate with its investigation.[11]

In November 2013, Armstrong settled a lawsuit with Acceptance Insurance Company (AIC). AIC had sought to recover $3 million it had paid Armstrong as bonuses for winning the Tour de France from 1999 to 2001. The suit was settled for an undisclosed sum the day before Armstrong was scheduled to give an oral deposition under oath. In a written deposition for the lawsuit, Armstrong stated under oath that, "Johan Bruyneel participated in or assisted with Armstrong's use of PEDs, and knew of that use through their conversations and acts."[13][14]

In April 2014, Bruyneel was given a ten-year ban by USADA, who noted that “the evidence establishes conclusively that Mr. Bruyneel was at the apex of a conspiracy to commit widespread doping on the USPS and Discovery Channel teams spanning many years and many riders." [15] Said Bruyneel about the ban, "I do not dispute that there are certain elements of my career that I wish had been different. However, a very small minority of us has been used as scapegoats for an entire generation."[16]

In November 2018, the World Anti Doping Agency successfully increased his ten-year ban to a lifetime ban.[2]


As riderEdit










  • 1st, La Flèche Namuroise

As directorEdit

  • Lance Armstrong was disqualified from seven Tour de France victories directed by Bruyneel.

Written workEdit

  • We Might As Well Win: On the Road to Success with the Mastermind Behind a Record-Setting Eight Tour de France Victories, ISBN 0-618-87937-4

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "RadioShack-Nissan-Trek announces lineup for 2012". VeloNews. Competitor Group, Inc. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Lance Armstrong's former team manager given lifetime ban from cycling". The Guardian. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Le Tour en chiffres Les autres records" (PDF) (in French). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
  4. ^ "Descending Cormet de Roselend". Podium Cafe. 2012 VOX MEDIA. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  5. ^ Johan Bruyneel and Bill Strickland, We Might As Well Win, Houghton Mifflin, 2008, p. 4.
  6. ^ "Bruyneel says it's time to quit Astana". Google News. AFP. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Belgian federation to investigate Bruyneel". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. 26 May 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Letter from USADA to Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Dr Pedro Celaya, Dr Luis Garcia del Moral, and Dr Michele Ferrari" (PDF). WallStreetJournal. Wall Street Journal. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  9. ^ "Bruyneel to sit out Tour de France over USADA allegations". VeloNews. Competitor Group, Inc. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  10. ^ Shane Stokes (14 July 2012). "Bruyneel confirms he's opted for arbitration hearing with USADA". Velo Nation. Velo Nation LLC. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  11. ^ a b "'Ploegleider Bruyneel gaat bekentenis afleggen in België' - Dopinggebruik Lance Armstrong". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). 18 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Lance Armstrong's former team manager given lifetime ban from cycling". Guardian. Press Association. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  13. ^ Schrotenboer, Brent, "Lance Armstrong named names under oath", USA Today, 10 April 2014
  14. ^ "Lance Armstrong Reveals Names in Lawsuit", New York Times, 10 April 2014
  15. ^ "AAA Panel Imposes Ban for Team Director Bruyneel, Team Doctor Celaya and Team Trainer Martí, for Involvement in The United States Postal Service (USPS) Pro Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy". 22 April 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  16. ^ Associated Press, "Longtime Lance Armstrong coach banned 10 years for doping conspiracy", Washington Times, 22 April 2014,

External linksEdit