Sean Yates will join Tinkoff-Saxo as directeur sportif for the 2015 season, assisting Alberto Contador in the Grand Tours

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Sean Yates’s return to the WorldTour with Tinkoff-Saxo was confirmed today. The former head Sports Director of Team Sky had been working with British outfit NFTO in 2014 but will re-unite with Bjarne Riis in 2015 as Cycling Weekly revealed in September.

American Bobby Julich will also join the Russian, Danish squad bank-rolled by Twitter-loving, Russian Oligarch Oleg Tinkov.

“For Bjarne Riis, Team Manager, this marks an important change and a big step up in how Tinkoff-Saxo works as a team,” read a statement. “It is ambitious and that is exactly what it takes to become the very best cycling team in the world.”

Julich and Yates will re-unite with Dutchman Steven de Jongh at Tinkoff-Saxo. All three left Team Sky at the end of 2012 when the British team renewed its zero-tolerance policy in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal. At the time both Julich and and De Jongh admitted using EPO during their riding careers while Yates chose to retire.

Yates rode with and then later directed Lance Armstrong, and although he denied ever doping during his career, Sky’s ‘no association with doping’ aim had to be strictly enforced after the team was left with egg on it’s face over Michael Barry’s admission . Yates has not worked for a top team since helping Bradley Wiggins to win the 2012 Tour de France.

Having quit Team Sky Julich, 42, returned to coach BMC Racing this season.

Tinkoff’s growing back-room staff will focus on Alberto Contador and his target to win both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France next season and bringing Peter Sagan in to the set up.

“They will play an important role in our new and ambitious setup going into the next season and this reflects our clear ambition to deliver results in 2015,” Riis said.

“They all have big theoretical and professional capacity and will be able to lift the level of our coaching and training.”

“[It is] an honour to be asked by Bjarne to join Tinkoff-Saxo,” explained Yates. “It is probably the only team I would work with right now and when the opportunity came along, it was too good to turn down.”

Julich will become the head coach and Yates a sports director. Riis also appointed Spaniard Patxi Vila as a sports director and Daniel Healey as Head of Sports Science.

  • Cattydcat

    I think we all need to understand that all cycling teams are the same, rather than putting some on pedestals. It’s whether you have PR saying something else that grates, with the hypocrisy

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    I don’t think either of those two will have any moral dilemmas with that.