Analysis: How Spain became center of operations in Armstrong’s doping ring

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Oct. 16, 2012
  • Updated Oct. 30, 2014 at 10:17 AM EDT
French headlines have recently vilified Lance Armstrong, who had numerous run-ins with the French press and doping authorities. Photo: Franck Fife | AFP

Familiar faces in Comeback 2.0

When Armstrong returned to racing in 2009, Bruyneel had established himself at Astana, where he had taken control of the embattled, Kazakh-backed squad. Following Bruyneel were some familiar faces, including Martí and Celaya. Many of the team’s soigneurs, mechanics and support staff also followed, many of them Spanish as well.

With Armstrong back, the band was ready to rock again.

USADA wrote: “In addition to Dr. Ferrari, during 2009 and 2010 Armstrong surrounded himself with many of the key pieces in the U.S. Postal Service blood doping program, including Johan Bruyneel, Pedro Celaya and in 2009 Pepe Martí. Each of these individuals had an extensive background in, and experience with, blood doping Armstrong and his teammates.”

USADA claims that Armstrong resumed his doping activities during this 2009-2011 comeback. Standing right by his side during much of that time were the loyal Spanish enablers.

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Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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