Team staff linked to Armstrong doping get long bans

Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:58am EDT
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(Reuters) - Lance Armstrong's former cycling team manager Johan Bruyneel, doctor Pedro Celaya and trainer Jose "Pepe" Marti have all been handed long bans from sport for their involvement in doping, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said on Tuesday.

Bruyneel was banned for 10 years, while Celaya and Marti got eight-year bans after the decision by the American Arbitration Association North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (AAA), USADA said in a statement.

The trio all worked for Armstrong's U.S. 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 leveled against them in June 2012.

"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," said the statement.

"Similarly, Dr. Celaya and Mr. Marti were part of, or at least allowed themselves to be used as instruments of, that conspiracy."

American Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and given a lifetime ban for doping in 2012, finally admitting his use of banned substances in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.

Two other doctors connected to the team, Spaniard Luis Garcia del Moral and Italian Michele Ferrari, were handed lifetime bans from professional sport by USADA in July 2012.

USADA's 2012 report said the USPS team had run "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program the sport has ever seen".

Belgian Bruyneel is a former professional cyclist who was team manager for all of Armstrong's seven Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005.   Continued...

Radioshack Nissan Trek team manager Johan Bruyneel attends the team's official presentation in Esch-sur-Alzette, January 6, 2012. REUTERS/Thierry Roge