Johan Bruyneel (born August 23, 1964 in Izegem) is a former Belgian road racing cyclist who immediately upon retirement as a rider switched to team management as Directeur Sportif with the US Postal Service Team, having raced his final season with Team ONCE in 1998. In 11 years he has amassed a management record that is the most successful in the modern history of the sport. His teams have won the Tour de France 9 times, a record. They have gone on to win both the Vuelta a España and the Giro d’Italia twice each. His teams have won most major races throughout the world, many, several times over. They have won nearly as many National Championships, in both Time Trials and Road Races, as there have been countries represented by his team’s members.
Starting as a professional rider in 1989, he was very successful racing for such well-known teams as Lotto, Once and Rabobank. He won the 1990 Tour de l’Avenir, the 1991 Rund em den Henninger Turm, the 1992 Grand Prix des Nations and the Coppa Placci. He took 7th overall at the 1993 Tour de France while setting a new average speed record with his Stage 6 win by going 49.417 km/h (30.70 mph), over a 158 kilometer course beating that day such cycling legends as Miguel Indurain, Mario Cipollini, Lance Armstrong and Viatcheslav Ekimov. Sixteen years later, only two cyclists have surpassed that record. In 1995 he won stage 7 of the Tour and took the yellow jersey on the very day the Tour’s route veered into his home country. That same year, he podiumed 3rd at the Vuelta winning a stage in the process.
For over a decade he has overseen the highly successful UCI Pro Cycling Teams of the US Postal Service and Astana, guiding such recognizable talents as: Armstrong, Azevedo, Basso, Boonen, Contador, Cruz, Devolder, Ekimov, Gusev, Hamilton, Heras, Hincapie, Landis, Leipheimer, Savoldelli, Vandevelde, Vinokourov, and Zabriskie.
Now moving to Team RadioShack as overall Director for the 2010 season he is once again involved in assembling a formidable team of proven ability that will likely have a significant impact on the upcoming racing season.
Bruyneel is fluent in 6 different languages; Dutch, English, French, Spanish, Italian and German. He is a Board Member of World Bicycle Relief an organization that strives to provide access to independence and livelihood in poverty stricken regions through the power of simple, sustainable transportation (the bicycle), and is an acclaimed author of the popular book, ‘We Might as Well Win.”
For years riders have gravitated to his management style stating that he is a rider’s coach who understands their individual needs and helps fulfill their personal goals while still maintaining a highly successful program. Like Lance Armstrong, he has attempted to retire from the sport more than once, but seems to keep making curtain calls that somehow manage to eclipse his previous performances.
By George Hurst