BRUSSELS -- Johan Bruyneel intends to fight charges he was a central figure in doping programs within Lance Armstrong's teams provided his defense hasn't been "permanently prejudiced" by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's accusations.
Bruyneel, Armstrong's former manager, was a key figure in USADA's report what it says was systematic doping on the American cycling teams he oversaw. While Armstrong chose not to contest the USADA charges, Bruyneel is opting for arbitration.
"I will continue to be involved in legal proceedings relating to USADA's proposed charges as long as I believe that I am still able to receive a fair hearing," Bruyneel, who left RadioShack-Nissan team last week, said in a statement Thursday.
The Belgian said he is "still stunned" at the charges leveled at him by USADA and will provide a "balanced account of events" after his defense is heard.
Meanwhile, the RadioShack team announced that Luca Guercilena would replace Bruyneel as team manager.
Guercilena, who has been serving as sports director, will now have overall responsibility for the Luxembourg-based team.
"This team has gone through some rough weather, but even the hardest stages come to an end," he said. "I have talked at length with the team owner and with the title sponsors, and all parties are convinced of the new direction for the team. We want to be a solid and stable team that gets noticed for its results."
Separately, in Spain, the country's anti-doping agency said state prosecutors could seek retroactive punishment against those who broke national laws from their involvement in the Armstrong case.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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