• Lance Armstrong (left) with US Postal Service, Eddie Borysewicz (centre), Nelson Vails during the 1984 Olympics (right) (Getty Images )Source: Getty Images
Edward Borysewicz - the former coach of Lance Armstrong - died this week, aged 81, in a hospital in Poland after contracting COVID-19.
By
SBS Cycling Central

18 Nov 2020 - 10:50 AM 

Borysewicz, known as 'Eddie B', was the director of the US team that won nine medals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. It was the first time the US had won medals in Cycling since 1912. 

His accomplishments with the team were made all the more remarkable by the fact that he barely spoke English at the time. 

"When I started, there was nothing. No office, nothing. I was the first guy, who doesn't speak English. I have only a telephone and have even to buy a desk. That was '78, OK? We make big steps. I have so many riders who win the Olympics, world championship medals," Borysewicz said, in an interview with International Herald Tribune in 1992. 

The achievements were later tainted when it was revealed that some members of the team engaged in blood transfusions - something that was not forbidden at the time, and Borysewicz claimed he had no knowledge of. 

In 1986, the UCI banned the procedure and fined Borysewicz and elite athletics director Ed Burke.

A year later, Borysewicz launched his own team, which eventually became Montgomery-Bell, the precursor to the US Postal Service team of Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel. 

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Borysewicz was especially close to three-time Tour de France winner Gerg LeMond, who described the Borysewicz as "his first real coach". 

"He was great, he laid the groundwork for American cycling," LeMond said in an interview with Rowery.org in 2019.

"He made these American cyclists believe in themselves, believe that they can go to Europe and race against Europeans.

"For many years in the US, we believed that the pros, the Russians, the Germans from the East, were good, and we were somewhere at the back.

"The riders were intimidated ... maybe I wasn't, but many were. He gave us a lot of confidence to go to Europe."