Johan Bruyneel says that Greg LeMond’s statement that he won the Tour de France clean is “bullshit”.
In an interview with Humo, Bruyneel said tha Lance Armstrong deserves his place among cycling’s biggest names, and spoke out about the hypocrisy that exists in cycling.
“It’s very simple: all the champions in cycling history were the best of their generation,” Bruyneel said. “In the 1990s, everyone had access to the same drugs: blood doping and EPO. Greg LeMond always says, ‘I’m the only clean winner.’ Bullshit!” continued Bruyneel. “He always rode for French teams, and they were les rois de la cortisone [the kings of cortisone].
“Can you really imagine he never took anything? He’s beaten [Bernard] Hinault and [Laurent] Fignon, who admitted to doping,” he said, with only Fignon having admitted to doping.
“You can’t beat the best in the world who have doped without taking something yourself,” added Bruyneel. “But LeMond was the best of his generation, just like Hinault, [Jacques] Anquetil, [Eddy] Merckx and [Miguel] Indurain. And so also Lance.”
“I know there was doping in the 80s and I’m certain a lot of riders were doing stuff and that cortisone was a drug of choice, but I was always able to perform and win races against those guys. At 19 years-old I finished third in the Dauphine; at 20, I won the Tour de L’Avenir by 10 minutes and finished second in the worlds. I was fortunate I was successful right away and didn’t get drawn into that. By 1993 I was just so fatigued and I don’t know if it was because everybody was on EPO, I really don’t, but I was checked out for every possible problem there could be health-wise.”
“It’s the hypocrisy that has hurt the most,” said Bruyneel. “When I hear some ex-colleagues busy on television, I think: ‘Do what you want, but don’t talk about doping.’
“Take team managers Marc Madiot [Groupama-FDJ], Vincent Lavenu [AG2R La Mondiale] and Jean-René Bernaudeau [Total Direct Energie] – the big cheeses of French cycling. They continue to judge me on my past, but what they have been up to is forgiven, so to speak.”
“I did my first foreign stage race as a second-year pro. I was completely ‘wrung out’ between the support cars, but did everything to finish that race. The doping control was done by drawing lots, which they announced half-way through on race radio,” he said.
“Madiot dropped back to the team car, heard that he wasn’t named [for the doping control], rolled up his sleeve and sat une flechette [syringe], as they said so beautifully, in his upper arm. He then accelerated again and didn’t leave the front after that. That image has stayed with me all my life. And so those are the men who keep condemning me and Lance,”