All riders and staff of Team Sky must sign a ‘clear written policy’ confirming that they have had no past or present involvement in the use of banned performance enhancing substances, the squad announced on Wednesday.

As part of the process, Sky riders and staff will be interviewed. Any member of the team not signing the agreement will have to leave the squad. If the contract is breached by any member at any time, they will also have to leave the squad as part of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy.

The team said in a statement: “Team Sky has had a clear position on doping from the very start. We are a clean team and have shown it is possible to win clean.

“We want a team in which riders are free of the risks of doping and in which fans – new and old – can believe without any doubt or hesitation.

“There is no place in Team Sky for those with an involvement in doping, whether past or present. This applies to management, support staff and riders.”

The move comes on the back of a series of embarrassing incidents for the team relating to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report published last week that concluded there was an organised, widespread doping programme at Lance Armstrong’s US Postal team from 1999 to 2007.

Michael Barry, who announced his retirement from Team Sky and professional cycling on September 9, was one of those named in the report. He subsequently admitted to doping during his time at US Postal, but stressed that he did not dope during his time at Sky from 2010 to 2012. Barry was one of 11 former team-mates of Armstrong named in the report that have admitted to doping.

Then there was Sky’s hiring of former Rabobank doctor Geert Leinders, who was active at Rabobank when Michael Rasmussen was ejected from the Tour de France for breaking anti-doping rules. Although Leinders was not directly linked with Rasmussen, his appointment contradicted Sky’s formerly stated policy of not hiring medical staff from cycling teams. Leinders has not had his contract renewed.

Australian Michael Rogers has also admitted to using the services of banned doctor and trainer Michele Ferrari – the same doctor used by Armstrong. Rogers’ last contact with Ferrari was in 2006, when his then T-Mobile team severed his ties with the Italian. There has been no implication that Rogers has used banned substances.

Sky directeur Sportif Sean Yates also has a strong connection to Armstrong’s teams, having ridden with the Texan at Motorola and then worked as a DS at Armstrong’s Discovery Channel and Astana squads. Yates has publicly stated that he saw nothing untoward during his time on the same teams as Armstrong.

Sky is obviously keen to thoroughly distance itself from anyone named in the USADA report, and also to anyone with any history of involvement in doping. But with doping so widespread in cycling during the past two decades and with so many team staff and riders involved, it is highly likely that there may be some team members that feel uncomfortable signing the agreement.

“We are making this statement because we believe it is important to be open about the steps we are taking,” said Sky. “However, we do not intend to give a running commentary on this or to discuss any individual at this time.

“By reaffirming Team Sky’s position on doping, we aim to play our part in a clean future for cycling in which everyone can have confidence in the sport.”

When details of the British-based Sky team were first revealed at the start of 2009, Brailsford made it clear that a strict anti-doping policy would be at the heart of the squad. Talking during an interview with Cycle Sport magazine at the time (February 2009 issue), Brailsford said:

“We want a clean team, first and foremost. That’s non negotiable. We’re not messing about with that one. It’s not PR, it’s not saying what people want to hear, it’s the bottom line.

“We won’t take any risks at all. The first thing I will spell out to riders is that, no, you absolutely do not do that. We will do everything we can to provide everything they need to be able to compete without doping, or even think about doping.”

Related links

Armstrong steps down as LiveStrong chairman, Nike and Trek terminate his contract

USADA’s Armstrong doping report in brief

USADA doping report repercussions continue

Leipheimer sacked by Omega Pharma-QuickStep

Leipheimer, Zabriskie, Vande Velde and Danielson all admit to doping

USADA publishes details of Amrstrong doping case

UCI responds to USADA Armstrong doping evidence

Former Armstrong team-mate Barry: Doping had become an epidemic problem

Hincapie admits to doping during career

External link

Link to USADA’s full Reasoned Decision document and all supporting evidence

  • Frank Green

    Adam you say you hope Sky are clean, youve invested time and passion. What youve gone down the cycle shop and bought a sky top, stood top of a hill and shouted? Be prepared boys its only a sport- dont kill yourselves. Wiggins et al are different animals to us we cant begin to imagine the suffering and training they do- Froome will be throwing his dope out of his swish monte carlo appartment as we speak, hes not bothered bout you.

  • William Hirst

    Cycle racing is all about integrity. That the strongest rider isn’t always the most physically capable, but the one with the strongest will, the one who is most prepared to suffer, which makes it very much a pure sport. But the cheats have well and truly tainted it and stripped cycle racing of its integrity to a point when even someone like Wiggo and team Sky with their clean ethic get the finger pointed at them. Last month, I went to the cinema with my wife to see ‘Ted’ which included a positive reference to Lance Armstrong. Not the only movie he has been mentioned in. There is a couple he has had cameos roles in. That is how big he became. I use to think Lance was awesome and an example to how you should handle life’s challenges. But all along, he has cheated and let down so many and has forever tarnished the reputation of this great sport all because in his arrogant little mind, he thought he deserved victory more than others. We all celebrated Wiggos success, but Lances betrayal has left us feeling that no winner can be trusted even now Brads win. Lance deserves every punishment and disgrace that comes his way.



  • adam

    I really hope Sky are clean… I’ve invested too much time and passion (and arguments with my girlfriend) for them not to be! But I don’t think firing people is the answer. It will obviously only build a culture of hiding the past to save your job.
    Yates is obviously a bit of a legend in British cycling but the idea that he never saw or heard anything…. pft… not so sure.

  • Ken Evans

    “Australian Michael Rogers has also admitted to using the services of banned doctor and trainer Michele Ferrari – the same doctor used by Armstrong. Rogers’ last contact with Ferrari was in 2006, when his then T-Mobile team severed his ties with the Italian. There has been no implication that Rogers has used banned substances.”

    Some people have claimed that Rogers was involved in the blood-doping done by T-Mobile.

  • Robert

    Brailsford has previously failed to probe as deeply as he should have into the backgrounds of team members, in particular Geert Leinders and Michael Barry, and as a consequence has brought Sky’s ‘clean team’ image into serious question. Given this, if Sean ‘I saw nothing guv’ Yates sticks to his story and Brailsford takes him at his word and keeps him on, then not only will he will probably be the only person in cycling who believes Yates, Sky’s image will inevitably take another battering.

    The only way I can see around this mess is for Yates to tell all that he knows and for Brailsford to change his policy to one of full openness and disclosure, rather than one that encourages the continuation of the doping omerta. Perhaps he could then also persuade Wiggins to allow Paul Kimmage to be embedded in the team for next season…

  • Phil

    If Sky were really against doping, it should have had a policy like this right from the start. It’s still too lame though.

    Getting kicked off the team will not discourage false statements. How about saying something along these lines: Any rider found guilty of doping either in the past or at a future date will have to repay all the money that they have earned whilst being a member of the team.

    That will focus a few minds.

    This should be mandatory for all teams.