A Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner team has secured a lifetime ban from cycling against Lance Armstrong’s former team manager, Johan Bruyneel, as well as team doctor Pedro Celaya. In addition, former team trainer Jose “Pepe” Martí’s suspension from cycling has been increased to 15 years. All were key figures with the US Postal Service cycling team, one of the most successful in the history of the sport.
This announcement from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is seen as the last big block to fall in the Armstrong doping case. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France cycling victories in 2012 following charges that he used performance enhancing drugs to win.
The BCLP team was led by Colorado Springs Partners Richard Young and Brent Rychener, who were engaged by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to prosecute its appeal of the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) original, lighter ban on Bruyneel of 10 years, and Celaya and Martí of eight years.
Bruyneel and Martí had appealed the AAA’s original decision, seeking to have the anti-doping violations ruling overturned on procedural grounds.
The CAS arbitrators unanimously agreed with BCLP’s contention that the suspensions imposed by the AAA were not appropriate in light of the fact that the three had been found guilty of numerous violations related to the US Postal Service team doping conspiracy, including the possession of prohibited substances, trafficking those substances, and administration or attempted administration of those substances.
BCLP’s Young was already known for his representation of the US Anti-Doping Agency in cases against Tour de France winners Armstrong and Floyd Landis, track and field champion Marion Jones, and other gold medal winners involved in doping scandals. Young also helped draft the original WADA code and subsequent amendments.
“It was always our contention that the sanctions handed down by AAA were not strong enough and, in order to stand up for clean competition and to protect the sport of cycling, we demanded more,” WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said in a statement. “I congratulate our legal team for skillfully pursuing this difficult case and I thank the UCI and USADA for their support.”
The BCLP team was supported by Colorado Springs Associate Suzanne Crespo.