Message to Bruyneel: End the Armstrong omertà.

Bruyneel. Time to drop Lance.

Dear Johan,

I want to offer my services as a professional writer for your book, the one where you tell your side of the story and set the record straight and refute all this silly USADA testimony about you and Lance running that top notch doping program.

We all know the Biblical revelation: you were duped.

This will be a book that people need to read, the one that reverses the crap-storm of negative misinformation about you and Lance teaming up to win seven Tours de France. Tyler Hamilton, David Walsh, New York Times’ Juliet Macur, those two clowns from the Wall Street Journal — they made their money with their sensationalist lies but this is the book that sets all records straight.

Cut to the chase, long story less long, you’re innocent.

I think you and I are philosophically aligned — we know what the real story is: that USADA’s Travis Tygart ran the most sophisticated program of character assassination in sports history, trampling on individual rights in a blatant attempt at self aggrandizement. Manipulation, coercion, strong arm tactics — this was an unprecedented prosecution of two genuine sports heroes.

Because there was one crime and only one perpetrator, not two.

Make no mistake: this won’t be an easy story to tell. Tygart and his minions have turned the tables and there’s a mountain of so-called “evidence” and un-corroborated “testimony” out there that have blinded people to your truth.

This book is about you admitting something terrible and embarrassing and yes, “shocking:” Lance Armstrong lied to you. Johan, you’ve been far too loyal for far too long and now it is time to break the omertà of friendship.

While you were both father figure and older brother to Lance, the time has come to admit that despite your close bond, the Texan abused your faith and good natured honesty. You made the honest mistake of assuming he told you everything but while you were trying to win seven Tours de France — clean, bread and water — you had no idea that in secret and behind your back, Lance was cheating with his doping program.

Sheryl Crow was in the know, you were in the dark.

In large measure, this book will detail how your “trust at all costs” mentality ultimately cost you your reputation. That is your story and together we will paint that picture. When Lance went on his Oprah interview and answered yes to those explosive questions about doping, Oprah failed to ask your question — did you hide your sophisticated doping program from your dear friend and team manger Johan Bruyneel?

This was the ultimate betrayal in what was a Greek tragedy on wheels.

We both know the answer to that question but like Lance’s half apology to Emma O’Reilly and that Irish troll David Walsh, he refused to admit he’d kept you in the dank. As hard as it is to end this code of silence between you and Lance, as your co-author I strongly advise you to move froward with the truth and nothing but.

Is it right and fair that a serial liar and cheat like Saxo Bank’s Bjarne Riis gets to keep playing the game, running his team and acting as an influential team manager when you kicked his ass every year in the Tour? You belong back in the game and our book will build that bridge to UCI president Cookson and open those magic doors again.

This is about getting you back where you belong in the Show, the Tour de France, Le Grand Shindig.

Now it will be hard for some cynical people to believe that you were unaware of this clandestine doping program within the US Postal team that you ran with dictatorial force. But your truth is your story — perhaps you were a bit gullible, taken in like everyone else by Armstrong’s magnetic personality.

And speaking on the human, personal side, people need to know that you speak five languages fluently — that takes extra time and weekly practice so really, who can expect you to play private detective with Lance when you’re trying to brush up on your Italian?

I think there’s a whole chapter devoted to your busy family life. You and Victoria have a good-sized family and again, while she does most of the child care, you’re still fragmented and pulled in every direction. I firmly believe it’s a pretty believable case that you simply didn’t have the time and energy to handle the kind of logistics required to run a massive, team-wide, global doping program. Once again, you were duped.

Now like you — your future ghostwriter — I was dismayed to see stalwart guys like Hamilton and Hincapie suddenly spit in the soup. But we know that life is complicated and not to grind an axe or beat a dead horse but Lance is a clever guy, right?

Somehow, someway, he wanted to spread the guilt around — all the better to jump start the rehabilitation — by getting those guys to implicate you and say you were a bad man and even a drug pusher. That’s the sad cesspool we swim in but there’s no reason we can’t find a fluffy towel and move on with style, grace and dry skin.

What’s important is not to wallow in the bitterness but simply present the real truth. Armstrong orchestrated a brilliant and cynical doping regime that even fooled you. Then part two, twice as damning and ten times as hard to take — he turned his back on you when the flames started to roast his carcass. Forgiveness can be such a difficult Buddhist concept, am I not right?

So, enough said and I cannot reveal my additional thoughts and strategies for the book without compromising my pitch or our future sales potential. In closing, I think the time is right to discuss chapter one.

 

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