Neil Stephens has quit the Mitchelton-Scott team after eight seasons as a directeur sportif, citing differences in philosophy but suggesting that “all good things must come to an end.”
Stephens was not part of the Mitchelton-Scott team at the Vuelta a Espana but has been seen at the race. The Australian WorldTour team confirmed Stephens had left the team to Cyclingnews.
He raced as professional between 1985 and 1998, his career ending after being caught up in the Festina Affair at the Tour de France. He claimed that while he used EPO, he did not do so knowingly, believing instead that he was being injected with vitamin supplements.
Stephens was one of the founding staff members of the GreenEdge set-up and has often directed the team at the Vuelta a Espana after settling in the Basque Country following his professional career. The team has continued to evolve into a Grand Tour-focused squad in 2018, with sprinter Caleb Ewan moving to Lotto Soudal in 2019. Simon and Adam Yates have extended their contracts, and Simon Yates is currently leading the overall classification at the Vuelta.
Stephens said he now plans to look for new ‘stimulation’ after leaving Mitchelton-Scott.
“All good things must come to an end and in my case, it is time to look for new stimulation. Over the last eight years, my family and I have enjoyed being part of the GreenEdge group and I do not have anything negative to say,” Stephens said in a statement.
“Over time, we mature and our philosophies may change. Perhaps some philosophies of the team and mine do not coincide, so I feel it is best that we continue down separate paths. In closing I must express my sincere thanks to the Ryan family for allowing us all to follow our dreams.”
The Mitchelton-Scott team thanked Stephens for his time at the team.
“Neil was one of the founding members of the team that made us who we are today and we thank him for everything he has done for the GreenEdge family,” the team said in a statement sent to Cyclingnews.
“We will miss him but we wish him the very best for the future and hope to see him on the road along the way.”