London – Lance Armstrong's former team manager believes cycling has entered a new era after months of controversy, much of it provoked by the disgraced former seven-time Tour de France winner.
In his first website posting since August, when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency alleged massive doping by Armstrong's Tour de France teams, Johan Bruyneel wrote on Thursday that the sport is focusing again on riders.
“I'm glad that through all the controversy the past few months, the sport has prevailed,” said the Belgian, a former rider. “The riders have seemed to embrace this new era and the fans equally as much.”
Bruyneel picked Fabian Cancellara, Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish as riders who “earned the fans' admiration” this season. Cancellara rides for the RadioShack Leopard-Trek team, which Bruyneel managed until agreeing to leave last October after Usada published a 1,000-page dossier detailing how Armstrong's teams cheated.
Bruyneel wrote that he could not comment on other issues, which include legal cases that implicate him.
“There will be a time and place for me to share my thoughts and insights on the subject, but it will not be now due to ongoing proceedings,” he said.
Though Armstrong declined to fight Usada's allegations, Bruyneel has opted for an arbitration hearing.
Bruyneel is also named in a U.S. whistleblower lawsuit launched by former U.S. Postal Service rider Floyd Landis, which seeks to recover millions of dollars allegedly defrauded from the sponsor. Armstrong got his first six Tour titles in USPS colors from 1999-2004.
The Justice Department said in February it would join the federal case and file a formal complaint within 60 days. That deadline is next Tuesday.
No date has been set for Bruyneel's arbitration hearing in which Armstrong is a potential witness.
Usada chief executive Travis Tygart has said the agency talked with Armstrong earlier this year about revealing more about his doping, which he finally confessed to Oprah Winfrey in a televised interview in January.
Tygart said Armstrong was concerned about “potential criminal and civil liability if he did so.” – Sapa-AP