Team Sky sacks Bobby Julich after confession to doping in late 1990s

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Team Sky sacks Bobby Julich after doping confession

Team Sky has kept its promise to pursue a zero tolerance approach to doping by sacking race coach, Bobby Julich, eight days after reaffirming their policy.

Team Sky has sacked race coach, Bobby Julich, after the Texan admitted to doping in the late 1990s. Pic: Team Sky

Julich, who rode with Lance Armstrong on the Motorola team in the mid-1990s, before joining the French Cofidis squad, had worked as race coach with the British team.

In a statement issued last Wednesday, Team Sky announced it would interview all its staff, riders and support workers alike, and part company with anyone involved with doping in the past or present.

Julich, who joined the team at the beginning of 2011, and who has worked closely with Chris Froome, is the first to lose his job after choosing to confess.

Team Principal Dave Brailsford said: “Bobby has shown courage in admitting to the errors he made long before his time with Team Sky. We understand that this is a difficult step for him and we’ve done our best to support him.

“It’s important to emphasise that there have been no doubts about his work with us or his approach as a coach. He has done a good job and been a good colleague during his two years with us. Bobby has our best wishes for the future.

“We’ve made clear our commitment to being a clean team and been open about the steps we’re taking. Although it’s never easy to part, we believe this is the right thing to do.”

Julich finished third in the 1998 Tour de France, the same year in which he took his first overall victory in the Criterium International. In 2004, he won a silver medal in the Olympic time trial, and in 2005 added victory in Paris-Nice to his palmares, while repeating his victory in the Criterium International.

In a statement published on Cycling News, the Texan admitted to using EPO between August 1996 and July 1998.

He said the turning point in his career arrived at the 1998 Tour de France when his then-fiancé, and now his wife, confronted him on the issue. The eruption of the Festina scandal days after sealed his commitment to clean riding, he said.

“When I began working for Team Sky in 2011, the real selling point for me was their clear commitment to running a clean team and I wanted to be a part of it. I hope that everyone understands that this team is special. Dave Brailsford had never competed in the sport at the highest level, and he set out to do things differently. I am extremely honored to have been a member of this team and a small part of the success that they achieved during this period.

“I apologise to everyone, especially those associated with Team Sky for my past indiscretions. I made some poor decisions and have paid and will pay a huge price. I am taking responsibility, at the expense of not being able to finish what I started, with some of the best people that I have ever been associated with,” he said.

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