Okay, I told you so. I predicted, a couple different times, that Johan Bruyneel would not go to arbitration. It actually isn’t confirmed, but Johan did say that he is “pretty much done with cycling.” If that is the case, I very much doubt he is going to try to defend himself in a couple weeks at his arbitration hearing.
I would love to hear what he has to say. In the interview, Bruyneel does say-“I don’t see myself as the devil. People are trying to picture Lance and myself as the bad guys, but that’s wrong.” I think it is super important for cycling to get the knowledge he possesses. The whole problem, I can’t see Johan coming clean on his own without a little, or a lot, of incentive.
So, just like I wrote last week about Lance, I believe we need to think extreme. The knowledge he has is very time sensitive. So, I have another idea. The UCI should pay Johan a million dollars to talk. Actually, thinking about it, that seems like a lot, but it won’t do it. The UCI should pay Johan $10,000,000 dollars for his knowledge.
I know, that sounds crazy. But it is cheap when you really think about it. Bruyneel knows more about the issues of the current doping in cycling than any other person alive. Well, that might not be a fact, but he would be the guy that most everyone interested in the problem would love to hear. He is the guy.
I say that cycling pays Johan a ton of money to spill his guts. Tell everything from square one. Name names, procedures, payoffs, etc. All the down and dirty. The UCI sits on this, keeps it under wraps. Then the UCI does their truth and reconciliation deal. They do a one time offer to anyone, and everyone, that wants to stay in the sport, to come in, come clean on their own. I’d bet there would be a ton more “honesty” from all involved when there is common knowledge that Johan has already testified. Unless the system has some leverage on the confessing folks, then the half-truths are going to keep coming and coming.
I know that 10 million dollars seems like a ton of money. But you have to remember the circles that Johan has been hanging in. Ten million might not even be enough. There are a ton of “important” people out there that don’t want Johan to say a word, but I think Johan wants to talk. I’m sure that the UCI could come up with that amount, at least. That’s approximately $555,000 per World Tour Team if there are 18 around next year. I know Jonathan Vaughters, from Garmin, has said that the World Tour Teams need to step up and assume a bigger piece of the financial pie of keeping the sport clean. This could be the start.
I know this would open Johan to some civil exposure. I don’t care if he demands that they deposit his money on the Isle of Man, or some obscure Caribbean island. If that doesn’t work, the UCI is in Switzerland. The way the UCI has been acting the couple decades, they might even have some connections to some unclaimed Nazi gold laying around there. I don’t really care what they do to convince him to part with his secrets. Give him another book deal, whatever it takes. Even if it takes the get-out-of-jail-free, 6 month suspension deal. The knowledge is worth more than one injustice.
Johan isn’t the devil, anymore than Lance is. There isn’t one guy to to bust here. There isn’t a head to put on the block and then the problem disappears. The problem was systemic. It still is. There are gazillions of ghosts in the closets. Johan doesn’t know them all, but he might know more than just about anyone else.
In Johan’s interview, he says – “I think that Brian Cookson is definitely the right man in the right place, but I don’t think that major changes in the system or the structure are going to happen overnight.” It might not be overnight, but let’s get it all out on the table, done. It isn’t going to be pretty, it’s not going to seem fair, but it’s time we finish this once and for all.