Bruyneel – “Lemond – An Asshole”

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Johan Bruyneel did an interview with a Belgian magazine and in that interview, he has some pretty opinionated views.  He said that the detractors of Lance Armstrong are like a “sect”.  Then he goes on and criticises Greg Lemond about his efforts to try to clean up the peloton with his help with discovering mechanical doping.   I don’t get it why he even has a pedestal to speak? What is wrong with the media over there?

Johan goes on to explain how the peloton of old, felt about Greg.  He gives a few comparisons, then just said that he was “an asshole”.

Anyway, wow, that is pretty extreme.  Considering his background, it seems like pot calling the kettle black situation, even if he really believes what he is saying.  I’d bet a lot of people would use that very term to describe him.  But, he is with Lance and not Greg.

I’ve had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with Greg.  On and off the bike.  Asshole would never come to mind if I was using an adjective to describe him.

Greg could be a very intense person, like nearly every top-level athlete I’ve ever met.  Greg took the sport pretty seriously and was pretty concentrated when on his bike.  But that doesn’t come close to making him an asshole.

I don’t think that I know anyone that knows Greg personally that would call him an asshole publicly, in print.  I know a few that have called him that in person, but that was in jest normally. Maybe a few times being serious, but that is common in a tight-knit group.

Cycling of old wasn’t the cycling of recent.  Most everyone got along alright and the best riders “showed off” with their legs, not by spewing stuff out of their mouths.  Today, it is amazing how badly riders talk about each other through the media.  And how they say how great they are going.  That is a big red flag in my book.  I never knew how well I was going until after the race was over.

I remember talking to Greg about the 1989 World Championships he won, beating Dimitri Konyshev, of Russia and Sean Kelly, of Ireland.  He said he felt like shit the first 4 hours.  Then the rain or something made him feel better and better.  At the end, he felt unbeatable, which he was.  I doubt a Greg Lemond interview before that race would have been anything but modest.

I like Greg.  We’ve always gotten along and he’s always been nice to me.  He tried to help me in the Junior World Trials, when I first started, and has been nice ever since.  He even tried to buy me some hockey skates.  Maybe he should have made that offer to Johan?

Anyway, Bruyneel doesn’t get to play in our sport for a few more years.  I’m not sure where he is on his 10 year ban?  But for the guy to say that mechanical doping doesn’t exist is insane.  Just because the only “caught” competitor is a women, doesn’t mean that it hasn’t occurred on the men’s side.

Then to call out Greg for having issues with Lance.  That is crazy.  He said – “I do not know what’s wrong with LeMond. It is not normal when you’re so obsessed with Armstrong.” 

Lance made Greg and Kathy’s lives miserable for a very long time.  And when you were on Lance’s bad side, he could be a real “asshole”.  Maybe Johan should have mentioned that?

Greg winning the 1989 World Road Championships. A classic photo.



81 thoughts on “Bruyneel – “Lemond – An Asshole”

  1. Max

    Cycling seemed pure in that era. Train, eat and rest right and the results could be yours. Tactics and smart riding could win, it was more like a chess match on the road.

    Now it’s just one form of dope after another, boring tempo and predictable finishes.

    Lose the race radios would be the first step. The fans like surprises.

  2. Kurt Bauer

    Back in the ’80s, the Euros were decrying the fact that Lemond’s big contract with Renault meant that the real corporate money was coming and would turn pro cycling into a “business.” So the so-called asshole made it possible, I guess, for frauds like Armstrong and Bruyneel to steal more than they would have otherwise. How dare he?

  3. scott

    1995 Tour de France, stage 7 – everything you need to know about Bruyneel. i understand all the nuances, but still a classless win.

  4. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Just ask @theraceradio how big an asshole Johan and Lance could be (as a team). It took a lot of years for a lot of people to present a lot of facts to certain members of the media about these two assholes (to get them asking the right questions). These two assholes were alerted to the effort almost immediately. Anyone who dared get involved found themselves experiencing all sorts of harassment and shenanigans.

    Now that the discussion of motors has headed in the direction of Lance, I’m reminded of how the pair first behaved when facing such criticism. Seeing Johan’s recent words immediately transports me back in time to the crap our loose-knit group of troublemakers had to endure then. All I can say is that these guys are pretty damn vindictive and self-absorbed. Both will be reading this. I wish both of them would ride into that gorgeous field of sunflowers and just drop dead (the way Lance had that girl write in his first book).

  5. Andrew Ross

    Like Mig did to Lemond at Luz Ardiden in 1990?

    It’s the one and only time Indurain ever attacked in the Tour, he deserved not to be rewarded. Attack ten times, win once. Attack one time, lose.

  6. Dan Lind

    In my experience, usually a person who feels the need to call someone out publicly as an asshole are, themselves, the real asshole. It’s a denial mechanism, as they subconsciously deflect the criticism heard about themselves to someone else. The fact that anyone cares what Bruyneel, the lying cheating scumbag that he is, has to say is the bigger concern for me.

  7. KrakatoaEastofJava

    His Renault contract was pretty standard. La Vie Claire is when the man really started getting paid. $1MM for 3 years back in 1984. Biggest cycling paycheck (to that date) and the first time a pro cycling salary was ever made public.

  8. Craig

    Amen! That was my immediate thought too.

    Say what you want about Lemond, but he would have never found honor in a win like that.

  9. Tman

    Bruyneel and Lance are saddles sores on the ‘taint of cycling. The former a little closer to the ballsac and the latter closer to the starfish.

  10. Bryan Barber

    Every time I see LeMond on TV it makes me sad. When he starts talking about Armstrong it makes me extra sad. He seems to me to be a very unhappy person.
    I’ve had many conversations with Greg at Interbike. As anyone could back in the day when he would just stand in the aisle ways and wait for anyone to approach him, so he could explain his rationale regarding Armstrongs unrealistic success. It was a great honor and pleasure to be able to engage a childhood idol in such an informal atmosphere.
    Every time I walked away from him I felt pity for him.
    Seems quite natural that someone so outspoken and seemingly unhappy might come off as an asshole.

  11. Bill K

    I agree that Armstrong could be a major asshole when crossed. (like a certain politician, we all know).
    If LeMond would just say that he’s targeting Armstrong because Armstrong hurt him financially, I could accept that, but going after him, and ignoring all the others who got away with doping seems rather strange to me.

  12. B

    That sounds like someone I know on Pennsylvania Avenue. Are there any spots left in the administration for Johan?

  13. Somebody

    The peak of human existence according to the original Matrix movie was 1992.

    The peak of worldwide road cycling according to me was 1989.

  14. Abby Normal

    Johan Bruyneel, this guys is still relevant? He was at best a ‘fragile’ Belgian who kept falling off his bike. Surely he should be off on other ventures, like selling tube socks, used carpet or sum such crap, what ever it is he’s selling, I’m not buying.

  15. Bolas Azules

    Bryan’s comment – “Every time I walked away from him I felt pity for him” seems about right regarding Lemond over the past couple decades.

    I too spent time with Greg in the peloton and his demeanor in his youth certainly has changed. Yeah he was shorted an even greater career due to unfortunate events, but what appeared to hurt him the most was losing his title (since regained) as America’s greatest cyclist. At least that was my read at the time and what I believe to be at the center of his original finger pointing toward Lance.. The financial punishment he suffered due to the ‘All Lance Love, All The Time’ by the media and fans hurt him even more…and led to even more bitterness. One thinks his life would have been served better if he had quietly practiced cycling’s age old ‘ Omertà’ but that is not Greg…and it certainly isn’t for The Bitter Greg. An ‘Asshole’ in the Belgian’s eyes for sure, why? 1) Because Greg didn’t sign-on to the expected culture of Omertà and 2) Cycling unlike almost than any other sport likes to ‘eat’ and discredit it’s elders. And those are two parts of the cycling culture that may never go away.

    An interesting sidelight to all of this has been Bruyneel’s recent participation on Betsy Kramar Andreu ‘s Facebook page. He has recently posted his comments on various subjects there and as usual Betsy does her best to handle him with class and undeserved respect. It’s worth a look.

  16. JB

    What kind of pedals/clips is Greg running in that photo? I don’t see a clip in front, so I thought they might be clipless, but there is a white strap across the top of his foot. The other two riders look to have standard clips.

  17. James

    People don’t change. The sport was no different in the past as it is today. Maybe more media outlets, but same old shit when money & egos are involved.

  18. Steve Tilford Post author

    JB – I had never noticed that. Greg would have been riding Look pedals for sure. He was riding them a few years before then. I got them in 1985 or maybe early 86 I think. Kind of surprises me that Sean and Konyshev are still riding toe clips and straps.

  19. KrakatoaEastofJava

    It’s hard to get over the kind of damage that the man inflicted upon Greg. And all Greg did (initially) was agree that if he wasn’t clean, that it would be “the greatest fraud”. He didn’t even accuse him of BEING a fraud. His only crime against Lance was not outwardly defending him against the criticism. And he should lose his COMPANY (and millions of dollars) because of this? Sorry, but FUCK THAT SHIT.

  20. B Johnson

    If you mean his neo-pro contract, It wasn’t even a big contract, it was spread over 3 years (as most were back then) and it was his Tapie salary which really pushed the limits and still that was a 3 year deal as well and included never paid royalties from Look in American pedal sales which GL never saw a penny.

  21. RGT

    Greg was riding TIME shoes and pedals in 1989, the strap(s) around the shoes were for added security.

  22. Bill Hall

    Talked to Greg briefly at a Trade show once. Nice guy. Not sad , very passionate about the sport.
    The real asshole was/is Lance & Bruyneel . Lemond is the only US TDF winner. Bruyneel is pissed because he/Lance will only be remembered as “Asshole Kings.”.

  23. conrad

    For all the outlandish things Lemond has said over the years, so far time has proven him right every time.

  24. Emacdo

    Yeah, that was the original TVT system. Greg was one of the first to go with Time. I just found a mouse living in my pair from 1989 under my workbench. Finally had to discard them. Great shoes – the mouse had good taste.

  25. Ti-Raleigh

    You shouldn’t atrack Hilary Clinton. She lost . But I agree you never wanted to double cross her .

  26. sillypuddy

    Just my two cents, the real problem Greg has with lance, regardless of the pod’s and the stacked teams is armstrong was just better.
    Not tryin to start anything. Just an opinion.

    Sillypuddy OUT!

  27. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Journalists don’t call Greg up and ask what he thinks about Pantani, Indurain, etc. When they call, they ask only about one man. Armstrong. He answers them without hesitation. And so because he answers their questions, and you remember reading these quotes, you assume he has a hard-on for Lance.

    Quit asking him, and his hard-on will go away.

  28. Taman

    I remember reading an article that Greg mentioned the photo and the strap. Something about old shoes and strapping them together instead breaking in new shoes at the end of the season.

  29. James

    One time. Otherwise he’s a hypocrite. Not the epitome of sterling character his fanboys wish to believe.

  30. KrakatoaEastofJava

    I never knew that he was supposed to get Look royalties. Wow. He ABSOLUTELY was the reason they gained traction in the USA. By mid-1986, they were everywhere in the U.S. peloton.

  31. Rope a Dope

    Just think without Big Tex, Johan woulda been forgotten by 2000! He better get ready for the Hip Check he’s going to get from Greg! All anybody has to see is Johan pissing off when Contador decided to go up the road and leave Lance in his dust during The Lance Comeback at TDF while Lance and Johan backstabbed him!! Go Hawks or Pens I mean haha

  32. David

    Oh c’mon, Sillypuddy. Lance could barely even finish the Tour de France until after he had cancer and started doping seriously. This occurred in the mid-90’s, by Lance’s own admission. (Betsy & Frankie Andreu said Lance admitted it to doctors in 1996.) Lance’s TdF “wins” were 1999-2005, all fueled by doping. Greg had phenomenal natural talent, and there is no evidence he doped.

  33. William Comer

    I like Greg, but I’m still an Armstrong fan too. I would rather hang out with Lemond than Armstrong.

    It seems Greg is bitter, maybe rightfully so?! But, man there was nothing better than watching him win that final time trial by 08 seconds. I saw it live on WWS. I was into triathlons big time at that time and it was just awesome. I will never forget that and be a Lemond fan for life.

  34. sillypuddy

    I’m not a cycling know it all. I’m not a guy who’s on Lances side either.. All I’m saying is regardless of the drugs Armstrong was still an amazing athlete who had unusual physical gifts. Look at how many cyclists have doped and haven’t won the TDF. Hincappi, Andreu, they doped,, why didn’t they win. My point being it does take talent and alot of hard work.

  35. Steve Tilford Post author

    silly – This wasn’t a post about how good Greg Lemond was. And it wasn’t a comparison between Lance and Greg. But since it came up here, I feel the need to answer.

    You’re wrong on your first comment. Greg was way, way better than undoped Lance. Lance wasn’t great. He was good, but not great. I could beat him in 1992. Sometimes on courses that would seem to suit him better than me.

    Then in 1993, I couldn’t stay on his wheel. That is the year that, according to the NY Times, says he was into drugs. And yes, EPO. Not 1996. It was the year he won the Triple Crown ($1,000,000) and the World Road Championships.

    There is no way I could have done that any year I raced. Not even close. Greg could have beaten me at a bicycle race, my whole career, when he was 17. He was that good.

    What people don’t understand is that doping doesn’t just even the playing field. It throws everyone’s chip back into a bag and you pull out a new one. Sometimes it makes you a god, other times, you hardly get much better.

    Saying Lance was a better bicycle racer than Greg is like saying I was a better bike racer than Greg. Not even close.

  36. sillypuddy

    “Most likely” is that the same as ” maybe, maybe not” ? Real simple Yes or No? As much as you bash the guy, im sure he’ll except your challenge. How about a hill tt? Real simple, yes or no?

    Sillypuddy OUT!

  37. Andrew Ross

    You have evidence?

    His dad was juicing him at age 15 when he was ripping the legs off of elite seniors?

  38. sillypuddy

    We all know LA has an enlarged ego. Im guessing anouther semi retired cyclist of steves caliber would be seen as a challenge. They’re both racing. We would all love to see it. Steve races all over the country. Why not. C’mon ST, Hunt’em down, then shut’em down. Once and for all.
    Thats what I meant!
    Sillypuddy OUT!

  39. Dude Ron

    Before we get to That Challenge Greg gets to hit Lance in the head with a hockey stick without Lance wearing a helmet just to make it even!!

  40. Greg Kogut

    Word. To this day I won’t touch Trek or Oakley. Probably just silliness, but at least it makes shopping a bit simpler to eliminate those right away.

  41. Robert Meade

    Bicycle racing is an intense and very competitive sport sometimes I think maybe more so than others. Throw in all the suspicions and innuendos and finger pointing that has gone on because of doping and cheating since day one and pretty soon you have a lot of assholes with big asshole egos but I still believe when it comes to sport of any kind the best don’t need anything at all and for those who refuse to dope and do it naturally they are the real winners.

  42. Barb

    It’s just very bad form,in a relatively small community like pro cycling, to badmouth someone behind their back, where they can’t defend themselves. People get some kind of nefarious thrill from trying to destroy someone else by attacking them personally in a forum where others can hear it or read it. Shame on Brun”heel.”

  43. KrakatoaEastofJava

    The younger people on here grew up with Lance being their hero. Then their hero was snatched away from them. They learned he wasn’t really superhuman. Then they get a bunch of old guys (like us) who tell them that Greg was the real deal. They’re not going to be very open to hearing that Greg really WAS that superb.

    Personally, I think Greg was naturally talented, but he also learned how to train far better (and far earlier) than his compatriots. I remember reading an article he wrote in late 1985 (about heart rate monitors). Greg was 100% bleeding edge, and a superior critical thinker. Combined with awesome natural aerobic talent.

    Kiddos… Greg was a gracious competitor, a cool guy, damn smart, totally serious, and above all, he had (and still does have) a solid moral compass. He taught himself how to win bike races, and he did it well.

  44. AK_Ben

    Sillypuddy seems to have the brain function of a 12 year old. And not a particularly bright one, either. Imagine being his coach or teacher. Gawd.

  45. Paul

    “Yeah he was shorted an even greater career due to unfortunate events, but what appeared to hurt him the most was losing his title (since regained) as America’s greatest cyclist. At least that was my read at the time and what I believe to be at the center of his original finger pointing toward Lance..”

    a) The events weren’t ‘unfortunate’, you are apologising for a huge doping fraud.
    b) Looks very much to me that your ‘read at the time’, like most people’s, was plain wrong.

    To say he was finger pointing at Lance out of jealousy seems a bit strange when he has now been exposed as the sport’s single biggest fraud and cheat. To say to somebody who was gunning for him ‘yeah but it’s YOUR motivation that’s open to question’ seems churlish.

    Armstrong is a cheat. A fraud. A bad person who behaved very badly to others, Greg, Betsy, Emma etc and tried to ruin them.

    Fuck Lance and the horse he rode in on. How anyone feels one iota of sympathy towards him is totally beyond me.

  46. Paul

    It seems Greg is bitter, maybe rightfully so?!

    WTF? Are you serious?

    Why, by the way, are you an Armstrong fan? What is it about him that inspires you? Livestrong? Because that’s the only reputable thing he has ever done.

  47. Steve Ryan

    I was fortunate to meet and race against Greg in the A to Z road race in Athens Ohio. It was I believe Greg’s only appearance in the World Championship jersey in the US. He was gracious and accommodated all request for autographs and pictures from both spectator and riders. I have my picture of Greg at the start of the road race on Sunday. He signed the picture the next year. Greg made cycling a mainstream sport and Lance would have been a unknown if not for Greg’s pioneering the way to Europe.

  48. Larry T

    Greg LeMond’s “problem” is that there is no filter between what he feels and what he says. The guy is just not a politician or diplomat. Beyond this he seems (still) to trust people who end up taking advantage of him. In 1989 the tour company I worked with did interviews with him in Italy and France – interviews he refused to take money to do, unlike every other pro we (ever) met with. In a bike race he probably IS an a-hole if you define that as a guy who has burning desire to win, but in every instance where I’ve spoken with him, he’s never been anything but a nice guy – but a guy whose opinion you’d best not ask for if you don’t REALLY want to hear it! I hope he never changes. Those other two guys? Greedy liars are probably the nicest two words I can come up with for them.

  49. Tman

    I would have beaten Greg at the Chequamegon one year. If not for those 300 folks between us, and the speed, and the mud. Seriously, those 300 assholes made the last 3 miles a death march!

  50. M. Indurain

    Eddie coached Lemond. Ferrari coached Armstrong.

    Eddie like blood doping. Ferrari liked all doping.

    Cycling has always had doping in one form or another.

    Doping gives tremendous advantages to win.

    Lemond won in his era. Armstrong won in his era.

  51. als

    Paul –
    The “unfortunate events” Bolas is referring to, (I believe) is injuries that had occurred at the absolute worst time. After winning the ’86 TdF Lemond was unable to start the ’87 TdF due to a crash breaking his wrist shortly before that years tour. A few weeks before he was set to return to racing from his wrist injury, Lemond was accidentally shot with a shotgun at close range, which resulted him sitting out two years.
    Also Lemond had been plaqued by ‘team infighting’ throughout his career. He was accused of chasing down his teammate during the sprint at the World Championships. Then the drama with Bernard Hinult not waiting to make good on his repayment promise Lemond. And when Lemond was fully recovered from the gun shot and set to start racing again, he caught wind that his teammates were doping. He told team management that it’s either the dopers or me, management decided to keep the dopers. He was able to get on a new team but had to ride support for their already in place superstars.

    Its apparent you’ve sniffed Lance’s chamois for far too long, it’s completely fried your sense of reality.
    Lemond was and still is very passionate about the sport and highly concerned about the integrity of the sport
    1) He adovacted for changing the American format to the European format of ‘National Championships’. So instead of Americans racing AGAINST each other at Worlds they would race FOR each other.
    2) He risked not having a contract for a year because he didn’t want to be teammates with known dopers.
    3) He retired at arguably the peak of his career because he saw 1st hand the drastic rise of super-human performances and wanted no part of it.
    4) He chose not to “practice the Omertà”. He could’ve chose to race clean and then stay silent but that would’ve “eaten and discredited his elders” by not protecting the integrity of the sport.
    5) After all of the truly unbelievable and self-sacrificing blessings that Armstrong and Company bestowed upon the sport — I’ll give Lance credit though, he didnt want to take any credit or recognition for those marvelously selfless blessing — that sent shockwaves through the UCI, they felt it would be best to have all new directors at the UCI to manage Lance’s endowment. Lemond was one of the 1st to offer his assistance if needed during the transition. He risked further ridicule and attacks being thrown at him, for the good and integrity of the sport.
    Lemond did not “finger point at Lance” nor was he bitter about “all of the Lance love” taking away the financial spotlight from him. All Lemond did was truthfully answer a reporters loaded question of Do you think Lance is clean considering his performances and his recovery from cancer. Lemond answered, If he is clean (note the keyword: IF), it’d be the biggest comeback in the history of sport. There was no accusation in Lemonds answer, however Lance of course thought there was then through his weight around and caused undue financial strain to Lemond. At which time Greg, justifiably, called Game On!

    Every professional sport (and as of just, recently the Executive branch of the US government) is plaqued by narrsisstic assholes who’s M.O. is to loudly and proudly state:
    -I am the Lord thy God
    -Thou shalt have no other Gods before me
    -Thou shalt not make unto thee any grave image
    -Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
    This narrsisstic assholish behavior, in professional sports, appeared a bit before Lance’s time, however Lance profected the behavior to a level that may never be matched.

  52. Jonathan Panoff

    Nice to hear an assessment of Greg and Lance by someone who has ridden against Greg clean and Lance clean and doped. I too believe Lance just responded rally well to doping. Perhaps like Merckx.

  53. Tom Petrie

    I’ve known Greg since he was a junior in high school (winning the World Championships but failing PE because he missed too many PE classes). My experience of Greg has always been positive. Johan on the other hand…

    Thanks for standing up for Greg

  54. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Eddie last worked with Lemond five years before blood doping was ever used… and Eddie had no clue what he was doing when he DID get a few 1984 riders to use it. And Lemond was already a stellar talent in the US scene before Eddie was hired. He was not a progeny of Eddie B.

  55. L

    I raced against Armstrong in 1992 and 1993 (and against our host Tilford during that time as well.) I did Redlands, Olympic Trials (Park City), Nationals, Mammoth, Cascade Classic, Tour of Willamette, Gastown Gran Prix and a host of other West Coast races. I was never fast enough to win anything at that level, but on my best days I could hang with the front group long enough to say I spent a fair amount of time racing at the Pro-1 level.

    From 1992 forward, Lance was producing efforts that were simply not human – and definitely not natural. You could see it in his pedal stroke. You could see it in how he sat on the bike. Unlike every other fast cyclist of that era, Lance had an ugly, ungainly pedal stroke and a bizarre posture on the bike. He didn’t look supple or powerful, but he could consistently (robotically) produce winning rides. He wasn’t smart about how he attacked or when he attacked. He had no strategic sense of how to read a race or how to win when he wasn’t the strongest guy in the field. He couldn’t win when he had to think or scheme his way to the finish line.

    On top of that, he was an unbearable jackhole to everyone around him. There’s not an ounce of class or grace in that guy. And this is all from BEFORE he won Worlds and BEFORE cancer and BEFORE the Tour(s) that he stole. Look, I could never make it as a pro and Lance could have been a good one-day rider – like an Andrea Tafi or a Fondriest. His ego was simply too big for that, though. And so he chose to cheat and lie and steal and destroy the people around him. For that, you can’t forgive him. What he did to Andreau and Heras and Hamilton and Livingston and Landis is downright sociopathic. He richly deserves whatever is coming to him.


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