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 confirmed on Tuesday.
Bruyneel was banned for 10 years, while Celaya and Marti were given eight-year bans after the decision by the American Arbitration Association North American court of arbitration for sport, Usada said in a statement. The trio all worked for Armstrong’s US Postal Service team, 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.
„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 Usada in a statement. „Similarly, Dr Celaya and Mr Marti were part of, or at least allowed themselves to be used as instruments of, that conspiracy.”
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 American’s team, the Spaniard Luis García del Moral and the 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, professionalised and successful doping programme the sport has ever seen”.