Sean Yates insists he can leave cycling with his “head held high” having retired from the sport for “purely personal reasons”.
Yates has been Team Sky’s lead directeur sportif since the team’s inception in 2010.
Team Sky chief Dave Brailsford has interviewed every rider and member of staff in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal and asked them to sign up to a written policy affirming no past or present involvement in doping.
But Brailsford insists Yates’ departure from the team is not related to the team’s anti-doping policy.
“Sean joined us in our first year and has been with us for three tough but rewarding seasons,” said Brailsford. “After a long career in professional cycling, he has told us that he wants to move on, for purely personal reasons.
“Sean has been a great support to the riders on the road and a valuable colleague to us all. We wish him the best for the next step in his life.”
Yates has been an instrumental figure in Team Sky’s success to date and masterminded Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France victory from the team car.
The former pro, one of only six Britons to wear the Tour de France’s yellow jersey, rode with Armstrong at Motorola from 1992 to 1996 and, having moved into team management, helped direct Discovery Channel when the disgraced American won the last of his seven Tour ‘victories’ in 2005, and Astana when Armstrong finished third in 2009.
When the Armstrong scandal broke, Yates said he “never had any inclination that this type of practice was going on” in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.
Last week, race coach Bobby Julich left Team Sky after admitting to using EPO as a rider in the 1990s, and Yates said in a a statement that the timing of his announcement would raise eyebrows.
The 52-year-old said: “The last three years with Team Sky have been fantastic and a highlight of my long career in cycling. I’m proud to have been involved with the team at such an incredible time for the sport. 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.
“I realise the timing of my retirement will lead to speculation, given what is currently going on in the sport, but I can walk away with my head held high knowing I have done nothing wrong.”