Lance Armstrong’s former cycling team manager Johan Bruyneel was banned from the sport for life on Wednesday after a successful appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The 54-year-old Belgian was initially banned for 10 years in 2014 by the American Arbitration Association North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (AAA) for helping orchestrate an elaborate doping program that helped Armstrong to seven Tour de France titles.
In its ruling, CAS also said doctor Pedro Celaya was handed a lifetime ban while trainer Jose “Pepe” Marti had his period of ineligibility increased to 15 years from eight.
The trio all worked for Armstrong’s US Postal Service team (USPS), which changed its name to Discovery Channel after a change of sponsors in 2005, and opted for arbitration when the charges were originally levelled against them in June 2012.
Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles and given a lifetime ban in 2012, finally admitting his use of banned substances in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.
The AAA had said the ban given to Bruyneel, who is often described as Armstrong’s right-hand man, was “appropriate” but CAS said he was at the heart of the system and deserved more.
“If a lifetime ban is a possible sanction, as it is, the Panel sees no reason why it should not be imposed in this case for Mr Bruyneel’s active involvement in widespread, systemic doping in the sport of cycling spanning many years,” CAS said in its ruling.
Bruyneel acknowledged in an open letter sent to cycling websites that “mistakes have been made”, but he still felt USADA did not have the jurisdiction to bring charges against him.
“I want to stress that I acknowledge and fully accept that a lot of mistakes have been made in the past,” he wrote on www.cyclingnews苏州夜总会招聘. “There are a lot of things I wish I could have done differently, and there are certain actions I now deeply regret.
“The period I lived through, both as a cyclist and as a team director, was very different than it is today.
“I would simply like to observe that we were all children of our era, facing the pitfalls and temptations that were part of the culture at the time.
“We didn’t always make the best choices.”
Celaya was the team’s doctor from 1997 to 1999 and then again from 2004, and CAS said he was a willing and indispensable participant in the system which required medical supervision.
Marti chose not to testify, but CAS said there was no previous evidence from which it could infer contrition or any change of heart by the trainer.