British cycling legend Sean Yates will be back guiding a major league professional team after quitting Team Sky two years ago. The man credited for masterminding Bradley Wiggins’s Tour de France victory will now be helping Alberto Contador’s bid for a coveted Giro-Tour double at Tinkoff-Saxo next season.
Although the official reason for Yates’s departure from Sky was given as ill health it came in the wake of the team enforcing its strict ‘no association with doping’ policy at the close of the 2012 season in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal. It left Sky in a bit of a pickle.
They could hardly argue they didn’t know of Yates’s long-established links to Armstrong but facing the growing backlash against the cheating American they needed to cut all links immediately, paranoid of the adverse publicity.
Sky had already been embarrassed by recently retired Michael Barry’s confession of doping while riding with Armstrong, sparking the interviews and subsequent sackings of top coach Bobby Julich and DS Steven de Jongh.
Yates was also interviewed but Sky said there were no grounds to dismiss him. Instead he conveniently retired. Now he’s back and perfectly placed to settle old scores with his former employers.
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly
Sean Yates will join Tinkoff-Saxo as directeur sportif for the 2015 season, assisting Alberto Contador in the Grand Tours
Former Sky and current NFTO directeur sportif Sean Yates could move back into the WorldTour next season