The Tinkoff-Saxo team has confirmed a series of changes in its technical staff for 2015 as it prepares to target the Classics with Peter Sagan and the Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double with Alberto Contador.
Bobby Julich has left BMC to become head coach with the team. He will be joined by Daniel Healey, who also moves across from BMC. Sean Yates and Patxi Vila will become directeur sportifs, replacing Philippe Mauduit and Fabrizio Guidi.
In the summer team owner Oleg Tinkov hinted at major changes in the Tinkoff-Saxo technical staff, saying he wanted people who know how to read power data. The Tinkoff-Saxo team and staff, including Julich, Healey, Yates and Vila, are currently climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa as a team building activity.
Team manager Bjarne Riis said in a statement that he was "happy to have Julich, Healey, Yates and Vila in the team."
"They are incredibly capable professionals and I consider them an asset for any team as they come with tremendous motivation and great experience. They will play an important role in our new and ambitious setup going into the next season and this reflects our clear ambition to deliver results in 2015. They all have big theoretical and professional capacity and will be able to lift the level of our coaching and training."
Julich first worked with Riis as a rider at the CSC team in 2004 and then in a coach-directeur sportif role until 2010. He joined Team Sky in 2011 but left the British squad when they introduced a zero-tollerance policy to doping. Julich confessed to doping between 1996-1998, when he finished third in the Tour de France. He was hired by BMC in 2012 and will step up to head coach at Tinkoff-Saxo in 2015.
"My intention is to get involved deep in the life of the riders, not just with the training but with the life-skills advice, the tactical advice, recovery and nutrition. In this new system, I would like to be the person that looks after all the details," Julich said in a statement from the team.
Tinkoff-Saxo said that Healey was "head of nutrition from 2008 to 2012 for New Zealand's high-performance sports system" and also has road and track coaching experience.
Yates back in the WorldTour
Sean Yates worked as a directeur sportif under Riis at CSC in 2003 and 2004 before joining Discovery Channel the following year to work with former teammate Lance Armstrong.
He played an important role at Team Sky when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France but left the British team at the same time as Julich. He has worked as a private coach and directeur sportif with the British NFTO Continental team in 2014.
Yates knows team leader Alberto Contador from the Spaniard's time at Astana and worked with fellow directeur sportif Steven de Jongh at Team Sky before the Dutchman confessed to doping and left the team.
Yates said in a statement from the team that it was "an honor to be asked by Bjarne to join Tinkoff-Saxo. It is probably the only team I would work with right now and when the opportunity came along, it was too good to turn down."
"Nevertheless, becoming the world's best team will not be an easy task. It will require a lot of hard work, a lot of planning and a lot of communication by everybody involved. It's going to be challenging but I like challenges."
Patxi Vila joins Tinkoff-Saxo as a directeur sportif after a modest career as a rider. He tested positive for testosterone in 2008 while riding for Lampre. In recent years he worked with the bike company Specialized in its Performance section, working closely with the Tinkoff-Saxo, Astana and Omega Pharma-QuickStep teams.
"I like the future goals the team has. I think it's good to be demanding with oneself because we are all competitive and we want to win. We have to set ambitious, but feasible, goals and given the background of this team, I'm convinced they are feasible. Such challenges not only put me under pressure, they motivate me," Vila said in a statement.
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