It's simple: I wouldn't have won one Tour de France without Johan Bruyneel, let alone seven in a row. Johan is a Belgian ex-racer who was my team director during that winning streak, but that doesn't begin to describe him. He became my friend, the closest thing I've ever had to a brother, my confidante, my partner in obsession, and the greatest coach not only in cycling but all of sport. He's a genius - not necessarily a schoolbook type of genius, but one whose intuition and street smarts are unrivaled.

But the first thing he did for me, the one thing that made everything else possible, was at once the simplest and probably the most difficult for people to do: He believed in me.

After I was diagnosed with cancer and was trying to make a comeback in professional cycling, Johan was the first person who told me I could not only return to the sport but could win the Tour de France, the biggest and most important bike race in the world. This wasn't some kind of motivational trick or complex psychological strategy. Johan looked deep into me and understood something. And whatever he saw changed my life.

Once I believed in his belief and we began working closely together, I discovered that he is one of the few people alive who might be more obsessed with winning than I am. I was obsessed with racing, training, equipment, recovery and rest. He was focused on all of that - for 25 riders - plus figuring out what races the team should do, what our travel schedule should be like, what we should eat, who should room with who, which riders on other teams we would need three years later. He's the poster child for winning...


Through Armstrong, Bruyneel says, he has finally been able to fulfill his frustrated Tour ambitions, marrying his determination and tactical skill to great talent. "For me, it was like trying to make something happen that I always wanted, but physically I was not able to do it," Bruyneel said by phone from France. "I knew how to work for it, but if you don't have the physical capacities, you can't do it. Lance has those capacities."

The same is true in reverse: Through Bruyneel, Armstrong has acquired discipline and a mind for strategy that's enabled him to fulfill his talent. Coach and rider found that their differences proved to be the perfect complement to each other: Bruyneel's tactical intelligence and Armstrong's extraordinary will; Bruyneel's gift for preparation and Armstrong's physical capacity to execute any plan.

What they share is a tireless work ethic, mutually inexhaustible ambition, and a vision: Bruyneel saw more in Lance Armstrong than Lance Armstrong saw in himself. In a way, what Bruyneel has given to Armstrong is the greatest gift, himself. Together they've created cycling lore.

   - SALLY JENKINS, The Washington Post

Discovery Channel boss Johan Bruyneel is far from nostalgic. With the challenge of forging new champions and building up a new block of riders to tackle cycling's biggest races, Bruyneel is working with newfound enthusiasm as he rebuilds the team in the post-Armstrong era.

   - ANDREW HOOD, Velonews.com

Here's a taste of what it's like to sit next to Johan in a team car: As we descended down Hogpen Gap at speeds exceeding 70KPH, all four wheels in our Volvo were sliding across the wet and windy pavement - at one point it seemed like we ended up on two wheels. Johan proved that he is a master multi-tasker. Johan was able to respond to emails, pay for items online using his credit card (while driving with one knee), navigate the roads, lead and encourage the team, carry on a conversation and crack some jokes with me and Rob the cameraman, school the judges, hand out water bottles and energy bars, eat a sandwich and a bag of chips, and speak multiple languages fluently amongst his riders and drivers of other cars. oh and did I mention he was driving the car? At the speeds we were driving I could barely eat a Fig Newton let alone keep my eye on the road...

   - RAHOUL SOOD, President and CTO of VoodooPC