Bruyneel speaks out for Padrnos

Johan Bruyneel has been true to his reputation as a man who keeps his cool, dismissing calls for Pav

Johan Bruyneel has been true to his reputation as a man who keeps his cool, dismissing calls for Pav
As US Postal celebrated their victory in Wednesday's team time trial, in which Pavel Padrnos was instrumental, US Postal team manager Johan Bruyneel hit out at what he implied was opportunistic reporting by French newspaper Le Monde. It was a report in that broadsheet on Wednesday morning which sparked new calls for Padrnos, but also Stefano Zanini, Martin Hvastija and Stefano Casagranda to be excluded from the Tour (see separate story) "I didn't even consider [the report] at all, because I know the case isn't something new," Bruyneel told journalists in the Htel de l'Univers in Arras last night. "To me, first of all, it's very, very surprising that this starts to be news all of a sudden now. There is definitely something behind that and it's always the same newspaper: Le Monde. Secondly, I'd say that I know the case in detail and there is no case. It's something that happened in the 2001 Giro d'Italia and it's inconceivable for me to have any doubts about this boy. "We are not speaking about any forbidden substance or anything," Johan said of the product which is the subject of the allegations, mannitol. "I saw the whole case; I saw all the documents. To me it's a case of bad intentions. Maybe in Italy, there's something going on where they want to make themselves important, but to me, from the team's and the sport's standpoint, there is no reason to have doubts about Pavel at all." Bruyneel then added to the confusion surrounding the substance at the centre of the case against Padrnos. According to yesterday's edition of Le Monde, mannitol is a diuretic. The UCI list of banned products, which entered into vigour on April 1 2000, confirms this categorisation, albeit with an asterisk to indicate that mannitol is "prohibited by intravenous injection". Bruyneel, though, contradicts this: he suggested last night that mannitol was a preservative agent used in commercially available amino acids. "The product that Pavel had is not a forbidden substance at all: it's not even a medicine, it is an amino acid which contains a small amount of mannitol. [Mannitol] is a preservative used to conserve the medicine. For example, any vitamin C tablet you buy has that preservative in it. "So apparently somebody had some genius idea to call that a problem," the US Postal chief continued. "It's not a problem at all... I find it very surprising and a coincidence that all of a sudden this news is so important. Again. It always comes form the same place, and I don't know why people attach so much importance to it." "I talked to Jean-Marie [Leblanc - race director of the Tour de France] before the start of the Tour and showed him the whole case; there is just nothing there. I didn't read the Le Monde article. I know about the case from when I read the documents that Pavel gave me."

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