Team Sky has reaffirmed its anti-doping policy by asking their staff and riders to sign a declaration confirming that they have no past or present involvement in doping. Anyone who does not sign the declaration will leave the team, as will anyone who does sign but is subsequently found to be in breach of the policy. The team will also terminate contracts if individuals admit to any doping in their pasts.
Team principal David Brailsford made the announcement at the Covent Garden hotel in central London, close to where the team has gathered to celebrate its successful 2012 season and to plan for 2013. Brailsford said that he had only begun the process this morning and was uncertain as to how many members of the team could be at risk, but added that he would interview everyone on the team's books.
The news comes in the wake of the revelations involving Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. The USADA case has acted as a catalyst for a number of confessions but has also raised new and resurfaced questions surrounding a number of Team Sky riders and employees. Michael Barry, who retired from the Sky team at the end of the season, last week confessed to doping while on US Postal.
Last week the team announced that they would not re-hire Dr. Geert Leinders after it was reported that he had been involved in doping during his work with Rabobank several years ago. Leinders worked with Sky on a part-time basis.
Team Sky has always proclaimed what they describe as a zero tolerance policy to doping and refused to hire riders or staff who had any links to doping.
However, at times the message appeared at odds with the reality of modern cycling. Although Sky has positioned itself as an anti-doping team, a number of its signings have been linked or implicated in doping.
Michael Rogers was a key part of Bradley Wiggins' team in this year's Tour de France but was identified as a client of Dr. Michele Ferrari in Levi Leipheimer's affidavit. He attended training camps in Tenerife and St. Moritz in May and June of 2005 but denied that he used Ferrari for doping.
In 2006, he admitted working with Ferrari but claimed the Italian doctor never suggested using drugs. He reiterated that claim a few days ago to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Directeur sportif Sean Yates raced with Armstrong at Motorola between 1992 and 1996 and was directeur sportif at the Discovery Channel team in 2005, when Armstrong won his seventh Tour de France.
The USADA documents revealed that Armstrong and several of his teammates were doping in 2005 yet Yates said he never saw anything and claimed he just drove the team car and called the tactics.