One of Lance Armstrong's closest associates, the former US Postal team manager Johan Bruyneel, has declined to give evidence before a drugs inquiry on Tuesday.
The Daily Telegraph has learnt that Bruyneel has notified the authorities that he will not appear at a hearing before the Belgian Cycling Federation's doping investigators after earlier giving assurances he would cooperate to the fullest extent.
Bruyneel, who is Belgian but lives in London, has resisted making any recent statements beyond strenuously denying the drug trafficking accusations levelled against him in the 1,000-page Armstrong dossier compiled by the US Anti-Doping Agency. Belgian Cycling Federation prosecutor Jaak Fransen said he may continue the inquiry even if Bruyneel refuses to cooperate.
Last week former Team Sky doctor Geert Leinders gave three hours of testimony about claims he administered EPO to riders on the Rabobank team between 1996 and 2009.
Since Armstrong's confessions to extensive and prolonged drug use, Bruyneel has kept a low profile. He is continuing to fight Usada's charges that he supplied banned drugs to riders and coerced them to dope.
The much-delayed trial concerning the widespread doping of cyclists in Spain got off to a hesitant start yesterday after the judge heard hours of negotiations from defence lawyers before determining it could go ahead.
Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor accused of masterminding the doping ring, appeared in a Madrid court almost seven years after police raided his clinic and seized blood bags laced with performance enhancing drugs in an investigation code-named Operation Puerto. The 57 year-old will take the stand this morning.
Fuentes and four co-defendants are accused of "endangering public health" rather than incitement to doping, which was not a crime at the time of the arrests, and face a maximum two-year prison sentence if found guilty.
The trial is limited only to cyclists, despite suggestions that athletes from other sports, including football and tennis, may have been on Fuentes's client list.