Yates departs Team Sky but says he’s clean

TEAM Sky insist sports director Sean Yates, one of the key figures in the British outfit’s success, was not forced to quit over doping confessions, following his abrupt retirement from cycling yesterday.

Yates’s exit came just days after coach Bobby Julich was released, having admitted to doping during his riding career when quizzed by Team Sky chiefs as part of their attempt to root out past cheats.

Principal Dave Brailsford, who launched the purge amid fresh scrutiny of the sport caused by the Lance Armstrong affair, said Yates had left “for purely personal reasons”. A Team Sky statement added: “Sean has been interviewed and there were no admissions or disclosures that would have required him to leave the team.”

Former British champion Yates, whose history of working with Armstrong at three different teams as a rider and then a coach placed his role in the spotlight, said his conscience was clear.

The 52-year-old, who helped guide Bradley Wiggins to the Tour de France in July, added: “I realise the timing of my retirement will lead to speculation but I can walk away with my head high knowing I have done nothing wrong.”