We had no idea the National Inquirer magazine put out a cycling edition. The sensationalist rag has nothing on Belgian lifestyle magazine Humo’s latest edition with the juicy, tell-all interview with Johan Bruyneel.
The man pulled no punches, he named names, he dumped freely and dished widely. He unburdened himself in a NorCal way, honoring his “feelings.”
While most of the revelations weren’t new, they were still dramatic. The only thing missing was Lance having Britney’s baby and Contador admitting he was abducted by aliens dressed like Elvis — or kazaks dressed as Elvis singing “Hound Dog” with a suspicious slavic accent.
Thank God Humo got Bruyneel talking. Did they slip him a few drinks — was Tom Boonen doing the big pours, working the other side of the bar, to curb his insatiable thirst and cocaine habit? Did Johan work his way thru a case of Chimay, Armstrong’s favorite brew? Who knew the normally cagy Belgian Director Sportif would spill so many guts at once.
This was the tell-all we knew would eventually come out. But not the new Armstrong book where we’d have to shell out $25 and only get half the story. Besides the obvious, a few things stick out for us, meaning me, at Twisted Spoke.
Yaroslav Popovych and Andreas Kloden are good guys. According to Bruyneel they were the riders keeping things professional and as relaxed as possible around the dinner table when the team could have split into two camps.
Bruyneel hates the Kazak bozos at Astana even more than we thought. The man is still bitter, still angry and still indignant and has a whole “dear diary” list of grievances. What becomes clear is that the year was one long stressful grind and he earned every dollar of his salary getting the team through it successfully. When new Astana DS Yvon Sanquer reads the quotes, he’ll be looking at the UCI clause that freed Contador to see if he can exit the same way.
Bruyneel is never going to marry Alberto Contador. Let’s all admit Johan has a man-crush on Lance and verse visa. Nothing wrong with that– most of us have a man-crush on Lance and when he invites us along for a crazy “hangover” weekend in Vegas, we’re going. We’ll bring the lion and the stripper, he brings the guns and Mike Tyson.
Now Twisted Spoke understands the full tragedy of Frank Vandenbroucke. When Bruyneel says, “Frank was the biggest talent I’ve ever seen,” you realize the sad magnitude of VDB’s mistakes. And in that cauldron of pressure and impossible expectation that is Belgian cycling, you fear for Tom Boonen.
The Bruyneel interview was everything news-starved cycling fans needed as we face the long, dreary off-season. Now we await the Armstrong and Contador follow-up responses. El Pistelero is going fire back soon.