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Yates denies seeing anything 'dodgy' at Discovery Channel in 2005

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Sean Yates of Team Sky at the start

Sean Yates of Team Sky at the start (Image credit: Rob Lampard)
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Sean Yates talking team, no doubt very busily

Sean Yates talking team, no doubt very busily (Image credit: Steve Dascomb)
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The masterminds behind Team Sky: Sean Yates (l) and Dave Brailsford.

The masterminds behind Team Sky: Sean Yates (l) and Dave Brailsford. (Image credit: Team Sky)

Sean Yates has claimed he did not notice anything "dodgy" going on at the Discovery Channel team in 2005, when Lance Armstrong won his seventh Tour de France.

Yates, who raced with Armstrong at Motorola between August 1992 and 1996, was a directeur sportif at the team between 2005 and 2009. He then joined Team Sky and was directeur sportif this summer when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France.

The USADA Reasoned Decision documents claim that Armstrong and several of his Discovery Channel teammates were doping in 2005 and during the Tour de France.

“USADA has direct evidence, including admissions to, and eyewitness testimony from, his teammate George Hincapie that Armstrong was blood doping in 2005,” the report reads. “Hincapie has testified that, “[f]rom my conversations with Lance Armstrong and experiences with Lance and the team I am aware that Lance used blood transfusions from 2001 through 2005.”

“His testimony is corroborated by Levi Leipheimer who testified that in 2006 or 2007, long before any USADA investigation had occurred, that George Hincapie told Leipheimer that Armstrong had “only used a single bag of blood during [the 2005] Tour.”

Yates told BBC radio: “It's all pretty damning for Lance and the whole history of his seven Tour wins and beyond. My opinion is one of disappointment and slightly upset, really,"

He said he was shocked at "the depth of the whole system, as it’s been called. I worked with Lance but never had any inclination this type of practice was going on. It is disappointing."

Yates claimed that his role was just to drive the Discovery Channel team car and come up with team tactics.

“I was with Lance in 2005, for his last Tour win. Before that I was working with another team. I’d turn up, I’d drive the car in the Tour de France, and I never ever saw an indication of anything dodgy going on. I used to jump out in the morning, go out on my bike, go back, drive the car, and call the tactics now and then, but I never saw anything that was untoward," he said.

Pushed on if he ever considered the suspicion surrounding Armstrong, even in 2005, Yates said: “I knew him from when he was young and he became world champion. I just believed he was a physically superior being, and therefore that's why he was winning. He was also very, very determined and this damning report bears that out in varying degrees.”

"My job was to make sure that the guys performed on the road, and did the right thing on the road. It was not to do with their training or anything else."

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