Johan Buyneel: "If you live in a glasshouse you shouldn't throw to much stones"

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17.06.2007/ Discovery Channel team manager Johan Bruyneel spoke with Dutch daily newspaper 'De Volkskrant' about the current crisis in pro cycling and the code of ethics. Bruyneel said that there is no ethic in professional cycling.

Bruyneel gets to the point immediatly. He doesn't want to talk about ethic and moral. If he would do that heads would roll. Its easy to stamp somebody to the ground. But if you do that one shouldn't be hypocritical. bruyneel told daily newspaper "De Volkskrant: "If you want to live in a glasshouse you shouldn't throw to much stones."

There is no ethic in cycling. The executives in the sport are former riders and they are all extremly competetive. Its as sinple as that. "There is a lot of short-sightness. They try to win or to muck somebody."

Bruyneel also spoke about about Alejandro Valverde, who is under such a tremendous pressure in France that its almost impossible for him to get a good result at the Tour. Valverde is being mentioned in the Puerto scandal. Bruyneel said: "Its going to be difficult for him. They are creating an ambiance. Even if he starts and there is nothing against him. Its typical for our own club. We prefer to destroy each other."

Bruyneel continues by saying: "Actually we can say that we are making a fool of ourselves for outsiders. We are specialized in making problems bigger instead of solving them. I never, never, never experienced that we solved a problem. Never ever. Never! We are not professional enough to do that."

Bruyneel does not want to defend himself. Kicking back to the people who tried to describe him as the bogeyman just cause new polemics.

At the same time Bruyneel knows that he has to fight back, to much damage has been done. Especially from the colleagues of T-Mobile. Bruyneel said: Together with Gerolsteiner and the French teams they are the vanguards of the critisism against me. The rest belongs to the other camp. I always call them the group of commonsense."

"Ok, as you are provoking me anyway," Bruyneel continued: "Speaking about ethic and T-Mobile. If the management has so much critisism, why does Rolf Aldag sign doctors from whom he knew they had a doping past as he restructured the internal organisation? What ethic are we talking about?"

Bruyneel continues by saying: "They also offered Valverde a contract. And the affair with Sergiy Honchar [The winner of both individual time trials at the 2006 Tour de France was suspended by T-Mobile after they found "strange" blood levels in a blood probe], they only do that to come out good  themselves."

"I did in the past with riders what they did with Honchar. I also took them temporarily out of racing. But you should not tell everybody. You should solve this internally. If everybody would take their responsibillity on that subject and you don't announce it than everybody would do that more easily" 

On the suggestion that the German team maybe really want more transparency Bruyneel started to laugh cynical:"Yes."

Bruyneel is still looking for the real reason why series of former Telekom riders confessed the use of performance enhanching drugs. He does not believe that the reason was the book of Jef D'Hont: "A book is a book, that is no  proof. A book is an opinion of somebody." Bruyneel continues: "There has to be hard evidence. Do you think its normal that 6 people confessed in 4 days? What is so important that Zabel confessed that he took epo for one week during his career? Explain it to me? Something that happened ten years ago?  Somebody confesses when he is with his back against the wall."

Bruyneel: "I don't see why that's important for cycling. To retrieve the truth? With somebody who admits to have taken epo for a week? And do you believe that? Sorry. If its about a week you don't admit it. There has to be more."

Bruyneel continued: "The whole affaire only caused more damage to our image. Are we also going back to the times of Bernhard Hinault? He is also every day on the Tour podium. What is the difference between 10 years back and 25 years back?"

Bruyneel is angry that ASO [The company which is organizing the Tour de France] director Patrice Clerc said that Riis should stay away from his event. "What does his confession has to do with his function? Why shouldn't Riis come and Zabel should? And what about Aldag?"

"Maybe its the only way to get a French winner. In a while the first 6 of the 2006 Tour are under suspicion and Cyril Dessel will be the winner. That's nothing to laugh about. They are seriously doing this."

By signing Ivan Basso Bruyneel did not take the easy way. Bruyneel said: "I am not affraid for the opinion of others. Imagine that Andreas Klöden wins the Tour. Wasn't he with Telekom in the past?"

"I am not affraid for opposition. I knew what would come. I am used to it to fight against people who like it more to race without losing instead of racing to win. Like how it was with Armstrong. When he won the Tour everybody was against him. That controversy lasted for seven years."

After Basso confessed that he was on the Fuentes list under the codename Birillio Bruyneel was upset. "I know I played the game by the rules."

Bruyneel is looking for a new sponsor and thinks that the sport needs to be restructured: "I think its wrong, in every organisation, if you want to play policeman yourself."

Bruyneel continued by saying: "The code of ethics is to vague. The code says: everybody who is investigated has to be taken out. So tomorrow I could arrange that a rider or a team manager is going to be investigated. What will you do? Ban the sports director? Boycott the team?"

"The structure of cycling is just to instabile. There is no consistency.We cannot take decisions together because every two or four years we lay our fate in the hands of some sponsor. I looked at the figures of Real Madrid [A European soccer club]. Siemens paid 12 million euros in 2004, but the total turnover of the club was 252 million euros. Our dependency is just the other way around."

Bruyneel continued by saying: "If that doesn't change than there won't be a solution for the problems we are dealing with right now. As long as we create no other renevues for the key players we can't do anything."

Bruyneel leaves the table and says: "Do you want to know anything about the race?"

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