Sean Yates has retired from Team Sky in the wake of the team’s internal interviews following the Lance Armstrong USADA doping case. The team confirmed his retirement on Sunday.  

“Sean joined us in our first year and has been with us for three tough but rewarding seasons,” Sky team principal David Brailsford said in a press release. “After a long career in professional cycling, he has told us that he wants to move on, for purely personal reasons.”

The release read, “Sean has been interviewed and there were no admissions or disclosures that would have required him to leave the team.” Brailsford told Cycling Weekly: “Sean retired but did not admit to doping as reported in The Telegraph.”

Brailsford told Cycling Weekly that news would come regarding Dutch sports director, Steven De Jongh. If De Jongh leaves, as reported in The Telegraph on Saturday, it is the third staff member to quit in Sky’s recent zero-tolerance talks. Race Coach Bobby Julich quit and admitted to doping in the 1990s on Thursday.

The talks follow the US Anti-Doping Agency’s case against Armstrong. On October 10, it released its 202-page Reasoned Decision and supporting testimonies on its website shortly after sending a 1000-page version to the Union Cycliste International (UCI). In its case, the agency gathered testimony from 11 former team-mates of Armstrong, who all told of and admitted to doping in their earlier years. Canadian Michael Barry, who raced with Sky until he retired in September, said he used EPO and other drugs

“We signed Michael from HTC which was at the time highly regarded as being a very sound, clean team and during his time at Team Sky we have had absolutely no cause for concern whatsoever,” Brailsford told BBC Five Live. “But ultimately he lied and we set out with a zero tolerance policy so we said that anyone who has had a doping conviction from the past or proved to have been involved on doping hasn’t got a place on Team Sky – that is our policy.

Yates rode with Armstrong in team Motorola from 1992 to 1996 and helped direct the Discovery Channel team when Armstrong won the Tour in 2005 and the Astana team when Armstrong placed third. The agency used photos of him in its evidence to identify ‘Motoman.’ It said in its Reasoned Decision that Armstrong doped through 2011, but Yates said he had no idea. Yates told BBC Radio two weeks ago: “I worked with Lance but never had any inclination that this type of practice was going on.”

De Jongh did not figure in the agency’s report. After retiring as a professional cyclist in 2009, he joined team Sky when it began in 2010 with Yates. In his early years, the Dutchman raced with team TVM, which folded after suffering from doping scandals

The UCI responded to the Reasoned Decision last Monday by stripping Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles. On Friday, it confirmed it would help form an independent commission to examine corruption allegations.

“You can see how the sport got lost in itself and got more and more extreme because it seemed to be systematic and everybody seemed to be doing it at the time – it completely and utterly lost its way and I think it lost its moral compass,” Brailsford told BBC Five Live of the agency’s Reasoned Decision. “Everybody has recalibrated and several teams like ourselves are hell-bent on doing it the right way and doing it clean.”

Yates and De Jongh were unavailable when contacted by Cycling Weekly for this article.

“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,” Yates said in a statement later in the evening, according to The Telegraph.

“I realise the timing of my retirement will lead to speculation given what is going on in the sport but I can walk away knowing I have done nothing wrong.”

Related links

Bobby Julich leaves Team Sky after confessing to past doping

UCI allows for independent investigation and suspends libel case

LeMond calls for McQuaid to resign as UCI remain under fire

Armstrong’s problems have only just begun

Prudhomme asks Armstrong to pay back prize money from Tour wins

UCI accepts USADA ruling and strips Armstrong of Tour de France titles

McQuaid defends UCI over claims of corruption and ineptitude

  • TG

    He could still have signed the agreement , even if he was leaving. That would have been better.

  • Frank Green

    Frankly some of these legend comments are silly. He doped. How many people on here have castagated contador for his cheating, you fellas on here have a brass neck just cos you like sean- he wasnt honest and wants to save his status in the sport. Yates was the type of bloke who liked to push physical boundries and liked to exert pain on the peleton by forcing the pace in cross winds etc, he wouldnt be to bothered if he would have to use dope to that, i think youre deluded if you think is modus operendi was anything other.

  • Ken Evans

    “I realise the timing of my retirement will lead to speculation given what is going on in the sport…..”

    Yes well spotted !

    Not a tidy solution.
    If he was always clean, then why leave such a plumb job now ?
    If he wasn’t, then why isn’t there an explaination ?

    Have Sky got a good replacement ?

  • Sam1

    I read that article. Everyone knows Cav is the most emotional creature in the sport. Have to say that if you want cosy,cuddly and let-all-the-feelings-hang-out in a team, the Priory aka Garmin, might be the best bet.

  • Lee Williams

    I am sure those that know him believe he was clean. I don’t, he was one of the main domestiques for Armstrong for four years, you live in one anothers pockets and he stated he never experienced anything untoward. I just don’t belive it!

  • stuart stanton

    the management at SKY are not too clever,on the human relations side. Read the Cavendish interview in the last edition of ‘Cycle Sport’ for clarification………..no, I have not been paid by the editor to write this.

  • Barry

    If Cycling is to be cleaned of doping a Truth & reconciliation policy is needed.Garmin have the correct policy, David Miller is now a strong force for the good of the sport.
    Only by encouraging former dopers to speak up but then move on can we (and UCI) learn what has gone on and eradicate it in the future.
    We must take the Sean Yates statement at face value but it seems to me that the rigid rules of Sky have led to this `retirement` – I do hope that he is not lost to the sport.

  • Sam1

    Sean is and will always be a legend to everyone who values the selfless of the totally pro domestique. His fearlessness on descents and phenomenal work ethic are memorable.. The atmosphere hanging over cycling is toxic at the moment, as every man and his dog acts as some kind of moral guardian over the whole circus and the media scramble to defend themselves from the accusations directed them for their woeful absence in of reporting the truth behind Armstrong etc. Yatesy is well out of it all, and I only hope that Sky have really looked after him well, financially.

  • Sean

    It hurts when it’s comes closer to home.
    I just read that Yates has just had the boot from sky for what I must read as his racing past.
    I must say that these confessions or guarantees arnt worth the paper their written on.
    It’s just like asking any pro cyclist if he has ever doped, what do you think he’s going to say?
    Oh yes I did take EPO sorry, I will just get my jacket and I will go and work at Asda.
    Come on, if a rider that has passed all doping controls goes down for taking then I don’t think we should view any pro rider or tour winner as clean. Surly, even if they too have passed doping control.
    They will always be one step ahead, there must be something else now, the new EPO of sorts?
    I do think other pro riders young or old slagging or condemning those that have been tested positive quite smart. They use that situation to somehow make them look good or clean. It’s a bit pathetic. I think the fans are stupid or gullible if they believe this.

  • jonp

    I’m not sure what sky hope to achieve, you have to sign a declaration (as I understand it you had to anyway) to restate that you have never doped or been involved in doping, if you lied once surely you’d lie again to keep your contract? In the toxic pro environment of the late 80′s and 90′s (lets face it most of cycling history back to the first pro races) riders became victims of a normalisation culture of drug taking, this is clear now. Surely a better way forward would be to follow a truth and reconcilliation process? Whether taking drugs or not Yates work ethic and sacrifice as a super domestique were inspiring to watch and I’m sure all of his experience will be missed at Sky.

  • hugh anderson

    THIS IS SAD THAT SEAN HAS DECIDED TO LEAVE SKY,CYCLING WILL BE WORSE OF FOR IT.I HOPE SEAN STILL GETS INVOLVED WITH CYCLING TO SOME DEGREE.
    AT LEAST SEAN HAS REMAINED SILENT ON THE MATTER,PERHAPS THE SO CALLED BRITISH CYCLING PRESIDENT BRIAN COOKSON SHOULD DO LIKEWISE.
    DOUBLE STANDARDS DONT COME INTO IT.IS HE PAYING BACK THE DONATION FROM LANCE ARMSTRONG,OR HE COULD GIVE IT TO LIVESTRONG.
    AFTER ALL HE WANTS ALL LANCES MONEY BACK.AND HOW HE CAN PREACH ABOUT LANCE ARMSTRONG WHEN BRITS WERE ALLOWED IN THIS YEARS OLYMPICS AFTER DOPING CONVICTIONS IS WELL,INCREDIBLE.
    THERE ARE OTHER CYCLISTS WHO WILL HAVE TO RETURN WINNINGS OR ARE THEY TO BE LET OF AGAIN AS LONG AS LANCE PAYS HIS BACK.OFFICIALS WILL HAVE TO STOP CHANGING THE GOAL POST TO SUIT THEMSELFS,WE ARE ALL GETTING FED UP WITH IT.
    ANYWAY ALL THE BEST TO SEAN AND I HOPE WE HEAR ABOUT HIM SOON,AS WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE HIM IN THE WORLD OF CYCLING JUST NOW.

  • Phillips

    I think that this announcement is the most sad event in recent times, Sean has been a pillar of respect throughout his career, both on and off his bike, I will never forget the look on his face when he gained the yellow jersey in the TDF, what pride we should have in this ‘ordinary’ chap.

  • Graeme

    Sadly I think this has always been on the cards once Julich decided to fall on his sword. At least Yates has done the honourabe thing. I wonder if there are anymore skeletons in the SKY cupboard before the 2013 season dawns?..

  • Graham Etheridge

    If its for purely personal reasons, then good luck Sean, but great timing of the anouncement!