Johan Bruyneel isn’t the Devil, yet……

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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.

Didi's knees are a little suspect.  Maybe Johan could replace him after his, potential, 6 month time out.

Didi’s knees are a little suspect. Maybe Johan could replace him after his, potential,6 month time out.

I wonder if Lance would do the foreword for a tell-all book?

I wonder if Lance would do the foreword for a tell-all book?

22 thoughts on “Johan Bruyneel isn’t the Devil, yet……

  1. Miskimins

    I don’t know Steve. I just can’t believe he knows ‘that’ much more than others. The idea of throwing a ton of money at him to spill his guts seems to me like negotiating with terrorists mentality. Johan has already profited immensely. How about he keeps what he has ‘earned’ (albeit dirty earned), and tell UCI everything he knows, or face the consequences of his past wrongdoings in a court of law. Isn’t that the whole idea of a legal system anyway? Deviating away from the established legal system and ‘paying off’ the terrorist just shows a failed faith in the system which tells others the room for opportunity to exploit it is there and guess what, another devil shows up exploiting the sport. Now what? Let them off the hook, give them a ton of money, and clean up the sport again? It’s a vicious cycle (and a dirty one I might add) that you’ve created. You end up playing by their ‘rules’ and will always be getting 2nd place. Don’t go down that road. That’s where the devil lives.

  2. Bob

    No need for any payoffs, once the hammer falls hard enough they’ll rat each other out to save their own skins.

  3. Euro

    Paying Bruyneel 10 million dollars is like the US government negotiating with Iran to end its nuclear program. Oh wait, we just did that. Both are incredibly bad ideas.

  4. joe_beer

    Steve’s stated objective is to change the culture of pro cycling for the better–that is, eliminate PEDs from the culture (that’s subtly different from eliminating them from the sport, which is impossible). So it’s got very little to do with Johan or fairness or morality. It’s about comprehension. Everyone–sponsors, teams, audiences, consumers–needs to comprehend cycling as it is. Then those who chose to promote the sport can sort out what needs changing. Maybe nothing. Maybe the current model of sweeping shit under the rug and periodically pouring bleach on the smelly mass will work long-term. But probably not. Cycling in that case won’t reach it’s potential because it won’t attract the best athletes and the risk is too high for corporate sponsors. So you get rich-guy-owners, culturally entrenched athletes and, from the consumer’s perspective, the current state of “how good (clean) is Froome/Wiggins/Horner/Nibali/etc/etc” yammering.

    How can cycling maximize itself…how can it best offer up it’s compelling and beautiful nature? The current business model seems hopelessly broken–the shit stinks too often and the bleach is a shoddy cover. If we can’t comprehend the culture as it stands now, we’ll be stuck here.

    Maybe that’s OK in the end. Maybe doping and intrigue is good for the sport and those who fund it. The payoff matrix for nearly all players favors status quo.

    So who really wants the sport’s culture to change? Why should cycling be the only pro sport to take doping seriously…really seriously, not “we’re taking this thing seriously” seriously?

    Steve’s barking at the moon, that’s obvious. Why does he persist?

    Who should care?

  5. channel_zero

    Rewarding Johann for his lies is equivalent to the jailhouse informants schemes run in most states.

    At this point, the international federation is little more than an athlete management organization for entertainment wrestling with ASO producing the show. Not sure how you can see it any other way.

    And, BTW, this notion that public confessions somehow fixes things going forward doesn’t work. We had Festina and every scandal that’s followed was as bad as that. Someone needs to explain to me how this time, unlike all those other times, it will be different.

  6. kanzasboy

    Hey Steve,

    I can’t get over some of the reasoning in your recent posts. Here it is o.k. to pay the going rate to “solve the problem, drugs in cycling.

    But it is “astronomical to pay $5k. to fix a window wall in Catherine’s house?”

    And what bothers me as a carpenter and craftsman is the idea of epoxy instead of window frame.

    Will there be a guarantee on the window/wall and for how long?

    Can you and Catherine imagine a family with children just barely being able to buy the house and then have to chase down the dry rot/ wet rot of a whole window and wall needing to be replaced?

    What if one of their children needed medical care? They have health insurance lucky but their deductible is $5K and the wall of new house is leaking? ( $5K cheap race bike no?)

    I don’t feel that is o.k. Is Catherine going to tell them about the epoxy window?

    I know you have the shingles, because you told us all. Please put in a new window and a proper repair. This isn’t too cool.

    I hope the two of your revisit this decision. It doesn’t seem like solution that is fair to a prospective buyer.

    The idea of different rules/exchanges for friends is not so good for all involved in the transaction. I think this is what drives the whole drugs in sport regime…

    Just saying.

  7. Steve Tilford Post author

    Kanzasboy-I’m not really following your comparison here, so I can’t really address that.

    But, I take the point of your comment as kind of insulting. I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, that you are implying that my repair job is subpar. I have to adamantly disagree.

    I put new wood on the bottom sill and repaired the rest. If you are a carpenter and craftsman, then I’m sure you’ve heard of Fine Homebuilding magazine. There are many restoration articles in that magazine that describe exactly what I did. The artisans in this magazine are doing way bigger restoration projects than just one window. And they are doing some of these projects on historic properties, much older than the house I’m working on.

    I’ve had very good results with epoxy. I’ve completely nearly rebuilt window sashes with the product. Some sash repairs I’ve done are going on 10 years old and counting, no cracks, perfect. My repair will outlast the remaining windows in that house, so I have no issues worrying about the “morals” of the repair, compared to a replacement. Or the medical bills of the next owner.

    I don’t know, maybe you had bad luck with this technique, but I’ve had very results. I’m standing by my work.

  8. H Luce

    I have a house built in 1930, where I took everything out, down to the studs, except for the plumbing vent and toilet drain, both of which are cat iron and as solid as the day they were put in. The wood is still straignt, no sign of rot, close-grained yellow pine. It’s a hardwood by now, you’d have to drill guide holes in it to nail it by hand. Same for screws. That house probably has 100 more years of service left in it, at least. Out back, there was a shed, with a white pine/OSB roof, built 20 years ago. The roof had developed a minor leak – and that was all she wrote for that roof. The service life for houses built with white pine and OSB is probably 40 years, tops, and then you start running into dry rot and the stuff Steve describes. It’s probably going on throughout that house, except it isn’t visible yet, another 10 or 20 years, and the only thing left of the place will be Steve’s repair. The house wrap will depolymerize, leaks will develop, water will get into the OSB, and that will be that.

  9. H Luce

    Arrrgh… “cast iron”, not “cat iron”… and paying off crooks to “tell all” won’t work – they’re still crooks, and they’ll be out soliciting bids from other crooks to keep quiet…

  10. The Cyclist

    “The problem was systemic. It still is.”

    Yes, the problem IS systemic. Actually the problem is the system. It’s called CAPITALISM.
    Because the men running it are all driven by greed.

    Cycling is not to blame. Capitalism is. Capitalism is the system behind the cheating AND behind the global warming, and behind every goddamned evil thing on this planet.

    I think cycling (and any other professional sport) would benefit from a little socialism. Instead of paying guys like JB millions UCI should take the big money out of cycling. Everyone one a team should have same salary. Captain and domestique. And there should be no teams that pay more than the others.

    This would solve some things.

  11. Bill K

    I’m all for this bid to get to the bottom of the current (17 year) doping culture. If fact, Bruyneel should spill his guts on his riding days, and what went on when he was just starting.

  12. mike crum

    Eddy Merckx tested positive for a banned substance in the Giro di Lombardia classic. He was disqualified from first place. Runner-up Felice Gimondi was declared the winner.

    Jesper Skibby of Denmark released his autobiography in November 2006, in which he confessed[112] to having used doping for more than 10 years. In 1991 he started using steroids, in 1992 growth hormones and testosterone, and finally by 1993 he was also using EPO. He claimed that he requested the drugs himself, and he did not name any other riders or contacts in the book.

    On 31 October Ryder Hesjedal admitted to having previously used EPO


  13. Euro

    Wow, that’s interesting. Maybe we should stop awarding winner’s trophies too, just give all riders the same placing. You socialists are funny.

  14. Brian Murphy

    I thought human nature was to blame not capitalism. If capitalism is driven by greed is socialism driven by envy?

  15. The Cyclist

    Socialism (not state socialism as in USSR and China) is driven by conscience and empathy. State socialism is NOT socialism and has nothing to do with it. It’s capitalism with just another name and just one capitalist. The state.

  16. The Cyclist

    And you capitalists think that money will solve it all?
    Good luck with that.

    Riding bikes IS socialism. Driving cars is CAPITALISM.

    In god we trust. In cars we rust.

    On bicycles we’re social.


  17. Tad Cheswick

    You don’t want Bruyneel to tell the truth because he’ll rat out Och and then Trudi won’t have a job with BMC.


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