Johan Bruyneel is a retired Belgian cyclist, who won two stages in the Tour de France, wore the coveted Yellow Jersey and accepted the job as Sports Director for the little American team of US Postal Service.
One phone call from cancer survivor Lance Armstrong in 1998 changed everything for Johan Bruyneel. The recently retired Belgian cyclist, who won two stages in the Tour de France and wore the coveted Yellow Jersey, accepted the job as Sports Director for the little American team of US Postal Service. Not knowing much about the job, the tireless Bruyneel went to work – believing that he first could succeed in the job and then come up with the ultimate plan for success, which included Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France. The biggest challenge may have been getting Lance Armstrong himself to believe in that plan! As he told Lance in 1998 – “We might as well win”, which has since become the title of Bruyneel’s debut book, documenting the philosophy behind the most successful coach in cycling history.
Over ten years since that initial phone call, Bruyneel has amassed a most impressive palmares – capturing 9 Tours de France and a total of 13 Grand Tours. Bruyneel has developed champions from talented cyclists and has been widely successful for getting a group of 60 people to buy into one common goal for the good of the team. In 2012, Bruyneel worked with Andy Schleck, a rider who has finished second overall in the Tour de France for three consecutive years. Bruyneel’s successful philosophy was put to good use in an effort to launch Schleck into cycling’s history books as the champion of the Tour.
Bruyneel is also actively involved in other aspects of cycling. He sits on the Board of World Bicycle Relief, which provides access to livelihood and independence through the power of the bicycle. He has traveled as far as China to share his coaching philosophy at a Nike sponsored event to educate Chinese cycling coaches prior to the Beijing Olympics. The business world has also been enthralled by his leadership abilities; speaking at Fortune 500 companies, including Google, Starbucks and Nike. Bruyneel has been honored at the Australia’s Legends Dinner for outstanding accomplishments in pro-cycling and was awarded the 2009 Flanders-America Award for influential relations between the USA and his home-region of Flanders. But out of all his numerous achievements, his greatest prize possessions remain his children Victoria and Christian.