British sports director and former pro Sean Yates may have to leave the WorldTour when the Tinkoff team ends in December

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Sports director and former professional Sean Yates says that he is likely to be leaving top-level WorldTour cycling behind when team Tinkoff closes at the end of the 2016 season.

Owner Oleg Tinkov has decided to quit the sport and disband his team. Many stars and some staff have already found teams. Peter Sagan will race for Bora-Hansgrohe and Alberto Contador for Trek-Segafredo. Sports directors Ivan Basso and Tristan Hoffman have deals. Yates has nothing yet.

“I’m going to miss WorldTour cycling, of course,” Yates told Cycling Weekly.

“I have been in many teams at the top end of the sport. CSC, Discovery Channel, Team Sky, and Tinkoff. I’m pretty fortunate and for sure, I will miss that.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet but I don’t think it’s going to be on a WorldTour team. I hope to know more about what I am going to do after the Vuelta.”

Bradley Wiggins and Sean Yates on stage three of the 2012 Dauphine-Libere

Bradley Wiggins and Sean Yates in 2012, the year Wiggins won the Tour de France

In the Vuelta a España, Yates and Steven De Jongh are guiding Alberto Contador through the third and final week. They helped plan the early attack with Contador in Sunday’s stage that saw Sky’s Chris Froome lose 2-43 minutes to race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

After the Vuelta, Yates will return to England and sift through some offers. It is late in the year, but something may materialise given the 56-year-old’s experience on the road with the top riders and teams.


Watch: Secrets of the toolbox – Tinkoff


Sky relied on Yates through 2012, when in it cleared house with its zero-tolerance policy. Bobby Julich and De Jongh left after admitting to doping during their riding careers. Yates had been linked to Lance Armstrong’s dirty days, but quit citing personal reasons.

Bradley Wiggins won the 2012 Tour de France with Yates behind the wheel and testified to his brilliance the following year.

“I really relied on him a lot,” Wiggins explained. “He seems to know every climb in Europe. That helps. He’s got so much experience from previous years.”