Nice to see that Jan Ullrich's ex-mentor and former T-Mobile sporting director Rudy Pévenage finally confessed to his role in facilitating Jan Ullrich's interaction with the infamous doping doctor Fuentes. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll see a confession from Ullrich himself anytime soon, as the liability he'd face would be massive. A tell-all book is still a possibility.
There are many areas of inquiry and angles one could follow in dissecting the article. In fact, you can do just that in the Cyclingnews.com Forum discussion - join the fray. But one of the first things I'd hope you would take from it is Pévenage's insinuation that he - and others - believed that while a majority of European-registered teams were dismantling their doping programs after the 1998 Festina Affair, Armstrong and Bruyneel were radically ramping-up theirs. From the article that appeared in French daily L'Equipe:
"Rudy Pévenage demeure critique envers Lance Armstrong, le concurrent de l'époque. «Cette rivalité nous a poussés à faire le maximum pour le battre. On n'était pas des idiots non plus, on connaissait Armstrong avant son cancer. La métamorphose après son retour fut tellement extraordinaire. Je suis toujours convaincu que Jan était nettement plus fort physiquement."
Rudy Pevenage remains critical of Lance Armstrong, the competitor of the time. "The rivalry has pushed us to do our utmost to beat him. We were not stupid either, Armstrong was known before his cancer. The metamorphosis after his return was so great. I am still convinced that Jan was much stronger physically."
Draw your own conclusions.
Random aside: what will the members of the cycling press/media who have been Lance Armstrong cheerleaders for 11 years (basically, all of them) say once his guilt is established in a US court of law, given the fact that casual cycling fans have known - and proclaimed - for years that Lance was doping his way through France while they stuck their collective heads in the sand?
And yes, Johann Bruyneel was an incredibly successful director, based on the number of Tour wins his riders achieved. But what set Bruyneel apart from his peers was not some magical ability to divine the thoughts of his rivals and counter their every move. No, what made him different was his willingness to assume the incalculable risks necessary to facilitate one of the most brazen and logistically-complex systematic doping programs in the history of cycling. That's it. His willingness to risk getting caught breaking the law, and his ability to master the logistics of a complex, illegal, extremely-risky and expensive doping program were the two competitive advantages he held over his rivals. That Lance Armstrong was his twin in that evil endeavour was his trump card.