Monday, 29 October 2012

Team Sky spins Yates departure

In addition to the dignified and honest confession of Bobby Julich over the last few days, we have also had the news of the departures of Steven de Jongh and Sean Yates from the Sky Procycling management and training staff. While de Jongh's was a straightforward, low key confession to previous doping while a rider, the official statement regarding Yates left us with more questions than answers.

In response to press stories in the Daily Telegraph and elsewhere that a similar confession had been made, Team Sky issued the statement: "Sean has been interviewed and there were no admissions or disclosures that would have required him to leave the team". This is an interesting statement because it does not say that Yates claimed to have no past involvement in doping, but merely that he did not state that he did.

My take on this, is that Sean has decided to leave the team rather than make a confession since he was not willing to do so. There seems no doubt that Yates has health issues - a heart problem due to his many years of hard work in the peloton (a not-uncommon affliction in this sport), and my guess is that he prefers to avoid the massive media scrum that would surround him, particularly since he spent his last few years in the Peloton with Lance, and due to USADA's release of a photo of Yates with the now infamous 'Motoman'.

The health issues are a convenient excuse, but also a good reason to avoid the stress that would undoubtedly follow a confession which included Armstrong. The question of course, is whether or not the media will accept this rather feeble cover story and leave Yates in peace, or whether more digging will follow.

Meanwhile, Jorg Jacksche has expressed doubt that the current revelations will solve cycling's problems:

“This isn’t a solution. It’s like trimming the weeds but leaving the roots untouched. If you individualise one problem and just point the finger at Lance that won't solve the issue. Lance Armstrong isn’t the problem of cycling. The problem is the system that allowed for a Lance Armstrong and that’s a huge difference.”

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