ASSOC. PRESS – Lance Armstrong’s longtime coach says the Discovery Channel team sold bicycles provided by sponsor Trek Bicycle Corp. after the network ended its sponsorship of the squad.
Johan Bruyneel’s comments came in response to a recent Wall Street Journal report in which former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis said money used from the sale of bikes at the US Postal team, another of Armstrong’s former teams, was used to help fund a doping program.
Bruyneel said “there’s been bikes sold,” but only after The Discovery Channel had ended its contract with the team’s main sponsor. Discovery Channel was the successor to US Postal.
Bruyneel said Tuesday he had “no idea” where the money went.
Armstrong and Landis rode together for three years at US Postal.
“At the end of the Discovery Channel’s sponsorship, I think there were bikes sold on eBay,” said Bruyneel, who now directs the RadioShack team led by the seven-time Tour de France champion. “It was done by the team.”
Bruyneel deferred questions on the matter to Armstrong lawyer Bill Stapleton. Stapleton could not be immediately reached by phone or e-mail.
Stapleton is founder of Capital Sports and Entertainment, an Austin, Texas-based marketing and personality management firm behind both teams when Armstrong led them to his Tour victories from 1999-2005.
Bruyneel said the bikes were team property and that Trek Bicycle Corp. knew some were given away “for the purpose of maintaining relationships” with the other team sponsors.
Landis told the Journal that about 60 bikes on the US Postal team were not accounted for, that some were sold for cash, and that Bruyneel had told him money raised from the sale helped fund the team’s doping program.
“What Floyd is saying is that 60 bikes were missing,” Bruyneel said. “I have absolutely no idea where he got that from.”
Armstrong and Bruyneel have repeatedly denied Landis’ allegations and questioned his credibility. Landis reversed course this year, confessing this spring to years of doping after having denied it since being stripped of his 2006 Tour title for doping.