Cycling: Bruyneel exits RadioShack to 'concentrate on defence'
Lance Armstrong's ex-manager Johan Bruyneel has left the RadioShack-Nissan team after he was singled out as a central figure in the former Tour de France champion's doping program.
The RadioShack-Nissan team said the decision was taken by "mutual agreement," adding that Bruyneel "can no longer direct the team in an efficient and comfortable way."
Bruyneel said he was leaving "to concentrate on my defence," having opted for an arbitration hearing to fight charges levelled by the US Anti-Doping Agency.
Armstrong was banned from Olympic sports for life by USADA and stripped of his seven Tour titles after choosing in August not to contest the allegations, including that he used and supplied banned drugs.
Yesterday's announcement came two days after USADA's damning report on Armstrong exposed the doping programme in the US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams that Bruyneel managed when Armstrong rode to seven straight Tour de France victories from 1999-2005.
"In light of these testimonies, both parties feel it is necessary to make this decision," RadioShack said. Its sponsors include long-time Armstrong backers Nike, Trek, Oakley and Livestrong.
Bruyneel, who was general manager of the Luxembourg-based team, now has his own legal battle with USADA, which placed him at the heart of doping programs for Armstrong's teams through the rider's second retirement in 2010.
Armstrong and Bruyneel were an unbreakable partnership for years. USADA's dossier pinpointed Bruyneel as the focal point of massive doping throughout the USPS team's heyday.
"The overwhelming evidence in this case is that Johan Bruyneel was intimately involved in all significant details of the US Postal team's doping program," USADA said in its 200-page report.
RadioShack thanked Bruyneel for "his dedication and devotion" to the team, but was quick to further distance itself from him. "The USADA investigation does not concern the activities of Mr Bruyneel while managing the team," the statement said.