Team Sky has announced that Sean Yates has decided to quit his role of lead directeur sportif with the British team but insists that he did not leave due to the team’s zero-tollerance policy against doping.
Yates’ past as a former teammate and directeur sportif of Lance Armstrong had sparked widespread speculation that his position at Team Sky was untenable. Overnight the Sunday Telegraph reported that Yates had left Team Sky as a consequence of the zero-tollerance to doping interview process. Team Sky rebuked this suggestion, saying that “Sean has been interviewed and there were no admissions or disclosures that would have required him to leave the team.”
Yates told the Press Association said he has nothing to hide by quitting, but is instead looking to spend more time with his family.
"I have suffered with my health in recent years and have spent a lot of time away from my home so I feel the time is right to focus on myself and my family," he is reported as saying.
"I realise the timing of my retirement will lead to speculation given what is currently going on in the sport but I can walk away with my head held high knowing I have done nothing wrong."
Fellow directeur sportif Steven De Jongh was also reported to be leaving the team but Team Sky has not given any indication on his future and is refusing to comment on other possible cases.
The full Team Sky statement on Sean Yates reads:
Sean Yates, Team Sky’s lead Sports Director since 2010, has decided to retire from cycling after three decades in the sport.
Team Principal Dave Brailsford said: “Sean joined us in our first year and has been with us for three tough but rewarding seasons.”
“After a long career in professional cycling, he has told us that he wants to move on, for purely personal reasons.”
“Sean has been a great support to the riders on the road and a valuable colleague to us all. We wish him the best for the next step in his life.”
After Team Sky reaffirmed its position on anti-doping, the management team started a series of individual interviews with riders, management and support staff.
Sean has been interviewed and there were no admissions or disclosures that would have required him to leave the team.