Team Sky’s American Race Coach Bobby Julich has quit the team after admitting doping during his riding career in the 90’s.

Julich had been with Sky for two seasons but had to leave after the British team last week reaffirmed its zero-tolerance position on doping. Team Principal Dave Brailsford and psychiatrist Steve Peters began conducting interviews with all their staff last week and were open about the fact they expected people to have to leave the team as a result.

Sky has always had a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to doping, but have been forced to act swiftly in the wake of the Lance Armstrong affair as so many riders and former riders were implicated in the mass of evidence that USADA uncovered. Julich was believed to be ‘Rider number 4’ in the evidence the agency gathered, but wasn’t interviewed as part of the investigation.

In a statement Julich, who coached Chris Froome and Richie Porte at Sky, admitted to doping between 1996 and 1998, the year when he finished third at the Tour de France. Julich never tested positive during his career and said he rode clean while he was with CSC (2004 – 2008).

In a press release Brailsford said: “Bobby has shown courage in admitting to the errors he made long before his time with Team Sky. We understand that this is a difficult step for him and we’ve done our best to support him.”

“It’s important to emphasise that there have been no doubts about his work with us or his approach as a coach. He has done a good job and been a good colleague during his two years with us. Bobby has our best wishes for the future.”

“We’ve made clear our commitment to being a clean team and been open about the steps we’re taking. Although it’s never easy to part, we believe this is the right thing to do.”

Julich’s statement, posted on the Cyclingnews website, said; “I have recently made a full confession to Team Sky senior management about my doping history and understand that by doing so I will no longer be able to work for a dream team performing my dream job. I also understand that by doing this, I will have to face some more important consequences in the real world and with the people that matter the most to me.”

“I made the decision to use EPO several times from August 1996 until July of 1998. Those days were very different from today, but it was not a decision that I reached easily. I knew that it was wrong, but over those two years, the attitude surrounding the use of EPO in the peloton was so casual and accepted that I personally lost perspective of the gravity of the situation.”

“During the 1998 Tour, my fiancé (now wife) found out what was going on from another rider’s wife. She confronted me on it and it was one of the most dreadful experiences of my life. She was never a part of this and I put her in a very difficult situation. She told me right then and there that if it ever happened again, our relationship would be over. That was motivation enough and I knew I had to stop.”

Julich started his professional career in 1996 with the American Motorola team before signing for Cofidis. He had two years at T-Mobile before signing for Bjarne Riis’s CSC team. In his statement he maintains he rode clean from 1998 onwards.

  • Martin J

    We must have an honest look at our sport and take action to protect it in the future, but whilst I sympathise with Team Sky and its commitments to sponsors etc, it seems we’re entering a phase reminiscent of the Macarthyite era in 50s America – in fact many elements of this are probably at work now:
    The pressure on riders and coaches to name names must be intense; but who will be left? Perhaps me and a few other octonogerians riding the tours and Classics on zimmer frames under the Help the Aged banner? A line needs to be drawn at some point before Team Sky’s purges turn into the Spanish Inquisition. Seriously though, over zealousness may take us to a place where we should not be. A balanced understanding of those riders swept along by the misguided practises of bullying riders, coaches and officials in the 80s and 90s may just prove to be the thing that saves the sport in the present.

  • Graham Etheridge

    Yates has gone! apprently not because of any shenanigans!………..we’ll see?

  • Andy

    Did somebody mention Sean Yates? Oh – there he goes…

  • Sean

    It hurts when it’s comes closer to home.
    I just read that Yates has just had the boot from sky for what I must read as his racing past.
    I must say that these confessions or guarantees arnt worth the paper their written on.
    It’s just like asking any pro cyclist if he has ever doped, what do you think he’s going to say?
    Oh yes I did take EPO sorry, I will just get my jacket and I will go and work at Asda.
    Come on, if a rider that has passed all doping controls goes down for taking then I don’t think we should view any pro rider or tour winner as clean. Surly, even if they too have passed doping control.
    They will always be one step ahead, there must be something else now, the new EPO of sorts?
    I do think other pro riders young or old slagging or condemning those that have been tested positive quite smart. They use that situation to somehow make them look good or clean. It’s a bit pathetic. I think the fans are stupid or gullible if they believe this.

  • Robin

    I think it’s a shame that he’s gone, but I understand it’s about the larger message which is “we are a clean team”. Albeit thats probably not possible. Look back at the Leinders thing, everyone was up in arms. Sky are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    I have the utmost admiration for him coming clean though. It would have taken a lot of guts, particularly as it meant he is now unemployed.

    Just as an aside, what planet are the 10% who’ve said in the cyclingweekly poll that LA didn’t dope? Perhaps they are taking mind altering drugs….

  • John

    Good on his wife.

  • Robert

    So when is Sean Yates going?

  • alex

    …we’ve done our best to support him. By sacking him? Sky only thinks of itself.

  • Hughie

    And the next one right in here please

  • derekbiggerstaff

    Brailsford has gone from wilfully blind to wilfully stupid.

  • William Hirst

    Britain has up until recently, has been the also rans of cycle racing. Kind of strange that Britain might just save the sport by salvaging its credibility.

  • Simon E

    Why punish him for something he did in 14 years ago? Cycling was in a very different place then. Does anyone who stole from a sweet shop as a kid have to leave too?

    This is terribly short-sighted, a self-defeating ‘all stick and no carrot’ policy of running a clean team. The facile line “we’ve done our best to support him” is a totally empty statement.

    If Brailsford wanted a 100% clean team then why did he not ask these questions of every individual BEFORE they joined?

  • barry

    Lets see if messrs yates and sutton have the balls to tell the truth !!!

  • Terry H

    SKY have to get rid of everyone, riders and staff, who has ‘form’ (as do all the other teams) if credibility is to be restored.
    If we finish up with a 100 rider peleton made up of youngsters and the current crop of proven clean riders for a couple of years supported by a skeleton back-up team, then so be it.
    The cancer is deep and the scalpel has to be sharp.
    The are 2 key resignations needed from the UCI as this all happened on their watch whether or not they accept they were directly responsible. Senior UK govt. ministers have fallen for much less.
    David Millar might make a good poacher turned gamekeeper but it needs someone from outside cycling with no baggage to take the organisation by the scruff of neck and give it a good ragging and start again.
    How about the boss of Skoda he knows how to take a sow’s ear and turn into a silk purse !!
    ASO are not in the clear either, M.Prudhomme needs to look us all in the eye and us he knew nothing- which I doubt. His predecessor is from lily white !
    So, who’s got the bottle ??