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SBD Global/October 29, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Sporting Director Sean Yates Leaves Team Sky After Three Years

Team Sky Sporting Dir SEAN YATES, "one of the men who masterminded BRADLEY WIGGINS' Tour de France victory in July, has left Team Sky after admitting an involvement in doping," according to Brendan Gallagher of the London TELEGRAPH. Yates "has left the team with immediate effect after completing an interview" with Team Sky GM DAVID BRAILSFORD as part of his policy of zero tolerance to doping. The "exact nature of the doping has not been revealed, but Yates has a considerable history of riding with the young LANCE ARMSTRONG at Motorola and then twice coaching him at the Tour de France, in '05 when Armstrong won riding for Discovery, and '09 when he finished third for Astana" (TELEGRAPH, 10/28). In Sydney, Peter Kogoy reported that "the departure of Yates comes within days of Team Sky's American Coach BOBBY JULICH quitting after admitting to doping between '96-98." Brailsford "declined to comment" specifically on Yates and Dutch Coach STEVEN DE JONGH, who is also understood to have left the team, when contacted. Australian-born former rider SHANE SUTTON, who is effectively Brailsford's No. 2, also declined comment. Brailsford said, "We set out (from the very beginning) with a zero tolerance policy, so we said that anyone who has had a doping conviction from the past or proved to have been involved in doping hasn't got a place at Team Sky. That's our policy" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/29). Team Sky said in a statement: "After a long career in professional cycling, he has told us that he wants to move on, for purely personal reasons. Sean has been interviewed, and there were no admissions or disclosures that would have required him to leave the team" (REUTERS, 10/28). BLOOMBERG's Peter-Joseph Hegarty wrote Yates said his three years with Sky had been "fantastic and a highlight" of his career. He "denied any wrongdoing." Yates said in a statement: "I realize the timing of my retirement will lead to speculation given what is currently going on in the sport, but I can walk away with my head held high knowing I have done nothing wrong." He added that he has "had health problems in recent years and spent a lot of time away from home, so he now wants to focus on his family" (BLOOMBERG, 10/28).
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