Bruyneel’s Bad Year

Bruyneel’s Bad Year

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For most directors, winning Le Tour for the billionth time would make for a successful season, but not for Johan Bruyneel.  It turns out that dealing with the Kazakhi backers of Team Astana really put a stinker on his season.  Add that stress to the considerable logistics involved in buying off testing laboratories and bribing the anti-dope controllers, and you’ve got yourself a busy season.

In a recent interview with CyclingNews.com, Johan finally put a topper on what has been a soap opera-worthy season for cyclists worldwide.

First, there was the comback of Lance Armstrong.  Does anyone else remember him saying that when he retired he wasn’t going to be like one of those other athletes who kept showing up at events after retirement?  I digress.  The Douchebag was back, and it turned out to be a challenge for Bruyneel due, in no small part, to Armstrong’s crash in the early season.  Turns out that Lance was whiney and felt like quitting, but Johan stepped in and threw his own famous quote back in the Texan’s face:

I had to force him: ‘Lance, you have to. You can’t go back now.’ I had to send him one of his famous sayings: ‘Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.’ I didn’t get a response, but he gave it a good think and pulled through.

Rationalizing the paradox of being ignored and listened to at the same time is pretty stressful stuff.

Much has been made of the team situation at Astana and the tension between Armstrong and Cuntador.  Alberto felt isolated, and maintains that he won the Tour largely on his own steam and without the help or support of his team.  That’s a bit of a surprise, I’m sure, to the 7 guys on the team who controlled the race before 2km to go banner when the attacks came.  The quibbling culminated with Lance twittering that “there’s no I in team“.   This is what Bruyneel has to say on the matter:

He [Contador] continues to say that he won the Tour on his own. That is completely untrue: without the team he wouldn’t have won the Tour that comfortably – maybe he would’ve won it, but still…

It will be interesting to see how Contador rides next year without the support of the most successful Director in Tour de France history.  Speaking of which, what is the real problem with Cuntador?  Apparently, it has to do with questioning the Belgian’s leadership:

The problem was that whatever I decided – the race plan, the team tactics, the riders selection – he always expressed his doubts. We all have the experience: we don’t make mistakes anymore; while Alberto still has much to learn.

One is to take what Johan says and like it, dammit!  Also, I am to glean from this comment that he has become an Honorary Dutchman and has thus stopped making mistakes.  Interesting move.  I wonder who authorized that.  I happen to be on the Awesomeness Panel and didn’t see anything on the subject come through.

Finally, what of the Kazahki backers of the team?  What about those guys?  I guess they were the worst part of his season.  Unpaid salaries and general malfeasance permeated the season.   There was some friction over the direction of the team, it’s image, and who should be on it:

I’m being judged on the results and the international image of the team, not on the image of the team in a godforsaken country such as Kazakhstan.

As a Dutchman reading a quote by a Belgian calling another country godforsaken, I have to ask, isn’t this a bit of a “pot-kettle” situation?  Or was that Pot Belge?

// Racing

  1. All of which is why I want JV to win the tour.

  2. JV is just a Douchebag waiting to happen. Just ask one of his turtleneck sweaters.

  3. Yeah but they match his sideburns. Now iz thah time un shprockets ven vee donce

  4. @Marko
    I see your sideburns and raise you a doubledouche:

    That’s not totally fair because I actually like Millartime, but he is still a bit of a wanker.

  5. Vaughters sounds Dutch.

  6. HEY. I’m keeping my eye on you.

  7. Yes, in Dutch the word ‘Dutch’ is actually ‘douche’…..

  8. @brett
    Brett is in the house! Well played. How about that Cadel! Can’t blame him for leaving that team, they always seemed to be screwing something up.

    I wonder who authorized that. I happen to be on the Awesomeness Panel and didn’t see anything on the subject come through.

    I need more data on this panel. I’m assuming JT lords over it with an iron fist. Where does it meet and how pissed does one get whilst on the panel? Inquiring readers want to know.

  9. @brett
    OH! Out of nowhere! Watch yourself. You’re on the list, buddy.

  10. @john
    The meetings are held on alternating weekdays at Prost and Brouer’s. Jim is on the panel, but doesn’t hold a controlling vote, although he’s an influential member. Michelle holds the controlling vote.

    When asking how pissed one gets, do you mean from beer or angry at the lack of aweseomeness? The first, very, and the second, very.

  11. @Marko
    I’m going to say in his case, it’s most likely closer to the German side.

  12. Don’t ya knoow oov the seecrit soceyety knoon ahs the Pentavarate. Theey meeat twyse annually aht a seecrit locayshun knoon as the meadows…

  13. @Marko
    The Pope, the Rothschilds, and Colonel Sanders before he went tetes up!

  14. Still trawling the archives.

    @frank
    you can re-hash this article again at the end of this season. Looks like The Hog is going to have an even worse year.
    1) Retirement Shack haven’t turned up this year
    2) The Land Grenade
    3) The Gusev Files

  15. Another Bruyneel’s Bad Year. I hate this photo.

  16. Seemed appropiate to pull this thread back from the dead when I saw it on the bottom of the screen today.  Talk about timely!

  17. @Buck Rogers

    Seemed appropiate to pull this thread back from the dead when I saw it on the bottom of the screen today. Talk about timely!

    No shit.

    And to nominate another directeur for COTHO status, Patrick Lefevre is up to his usual antics. Last week he said he didn’t have the budget for Cavendish; then he sacked Eggtimer for his doping confession and lo and behold, a few days later he has the budget to hire Cavendish.

    How convenient.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/cavendish-confirmed-for-omega-pharma-quickstep

  18. @frank What a coincidence, eh? I didn’t really put two and two together this afternoon when I was reading this.

    Must work less, sleep and ride more!

  19. @Chris retard, you were supposed to hyper-link this

  20. @Chris

    @Chris retard, you were supposed to hyper-link this

    Great story.  I told you all that I never liked Egg Timer.  And hell, if Joe Papp follows and contributes to the blog, I REALLY need to start following it myself.

  21. yes, omerta is alive and well.

  22. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    Seemed appropiate to pull this thread back from the dead when I saw it on the bottom of the screen today. Talk about timely!

    No shit.

    And to nominate another directeur for COTHO status, Patrick Lefevre is up to his usual antics. Last week he said he didn’t have the budget for Cavendish; then he sacked Eggtimer for his doping confession and lo and behold, a few days later he has the budget to hire Cavendish.

    How convenient. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/cavendish-confirmed-for-omega-pharma-quickstep

    Convenient? Yes. Understandable? Yes. Eggtimer’s best days are behind him. Cav has much more to offer that a decent showing in California, which for OPQS isn’t as important as wins in Europe.

  23. Just thought of something. Wonder if Taylor Phinney and his Dad were well aware, or had suspicions about the LA gig? He rode for Livestong and it would have been natural to go with the senior squad. Did he know something? Did he refuse to join the “program”? Wonder if we’ll ever know . . .

  24. @wiscot

    Just thought of something. Wonder if Taylor Phinney and his Dad were well aware, or had suspicions about the LA gig? He rode for Livestong and it would have been natural to go with the senior squad. Did he know something? Did he refuse to join the “program”? Wonder if we’ll ever know . . .

    I hope that “Junior Wunderkind” is clean.  Always have had my doubts about him, more so than any other of the new generation coming up.  I actually took it as a good sign that he went to BMC and not the Retirement Shack when he joined the Big Leagues, although with Big George at BMC with him, and his focus more on one day classics, not sure that that was a valid assumption afterall?

  25. @Buck Rogers

    @wiscot

    Just thought of something. Wonder if Taylor Phinney and his Dad were well aware, or had suspicions about the LA gig? He rode for Livestong and it would have been natural to go with the senior squad. Did he know something? Did he refuse to join the “program”? Wonder if we’ll ever know . . .

    I hope that “Junior Wunderkind” is clean. Always have had my doubts about him, more so than any other of the new generation coming up. I actually took it as a good sign that he went to BMC and not the Retirement Shack when he joined the Big Leagues, although with Big George at BMC with him, and his focus more on one day classics, not sure that that was a valid assumption afterall?

    I suspect that Big George rode clean at BMC once he was out of the Shack. I think it’s also interesting what Wiggins said this year about  riding clean. He said he did it not just for himself, but also for his friends and family in that if he was busted for doping, he would be so embarrassed for himself and everyone else, he kept it clean. Basically, he doesn’t want the shame associated with being a busted doper. He also doesn’t want friends and family to suffer the abuse through association.

    COTHO has no shame and now his kids will be the spawn of one of the worst, most nefarious cheaters in the history of sport. Of course, I’m sure he’s indoctrinated them to deny what Daddy did too – the only thing is COTHO’s denials won’t cut much ice on the playground at recess. His kids will go through hell no matter what daddy says for the rest of their lives given the high profile COTHO manufactured.

  26. @wiscot

    @Buck Rogers

    @wiscot

    Just thought of something. Wonder if Taylor Phinney and his Dad were well aware, or had suspicions about the LA gig? He rode for Livestong and it would have been natural to go with the senior squad. Did he know something? Did he refuse to join the “program”? Wonder if we’ll ever know . . .

    I hope that “Junior Wunderkind” is clean. Always have had my doubts about him, more so than any other of the new generation coming up. I actually took it as a good sign that he went to BMC and not the Retirement Shack when he joined the Big Leagues, although with Big George at BMC with him, and his focus more on one day classics, not sure that that was a valid assumption afterall?

    I suspect that Big George rode clean at BMC once he was out of the Shack. I think it’s also interesting what Wiggins said this year about riding clean. He said he did it not just for himself, but also for his friends and family in that if he was busted for doping, he would be so embarrassed for himself and everyone else, he kept it clean. Basically, he doesn’t want the shame associated with being a busted doper. He also doesn’t want friends and family to suffer the abuse through association.

    COTHO has no shame and now his kids will be the spawn of one of the worst, most nefarious cheaters in the history of sport. Of course, I’m sure he’s indoctrinated them to deny what Daddy did too – the only thing is COTHO‘s denials won’t cut much ice on the playground at recess. His kids will go through hell no matter what daddy says for the rest of their lives given the high profile COTHO manufactured.

    But ya know what…those kids all have trust funds, and the “playgrounds” they are on are full of other Rich people’s snotty ass kids that don’t have to play by the rules (!) either. Money corrupts all, and it starts at a very young age. They owe their privilege to COTHO/daddy’s methods, and they just can’t jeopardize that.

    I’m sure if I worked a little harder I could get an Evelyn Stevens comment in here too.

  27. @eightzero

    I’m sure if I worked a little harder I could get an Evelyn Stevens comment in here too.

    I knew you would get a dig in at Stevens as soon as I read “trust funds”. Well done.  I still like Stevens though, and one cyclocrosser from Boulder that happens to be on her road team.

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