Team Sky, whose rider Bradley Wiggins won this year’s Tour de France, said sports director Steven de Jongh left the team after admitting to doping while he was a professional rider.
The Dutchman is the third Sky coach to leave this month. Four days ago, the team said race coach Bobby Julich left after admitting doping as a rider in the late 1990s, and yesterday another sports director, Sean Yates, retired from professional cycling.
De Jongh, 38, left after telling Sky officials that he had take a “banned substance” earlier in his career. The 38-year-old rode for Rabobank between 2000 and 2005 and for Quickstep-Innergetic and Team Quick Step between 2006 and 2009, according to his website.
“There’s no doubt about Steven’s work with us or his approach,” team principal Dave Brailsford said today in a statement on the squad’s website. “He’s been a highly-valued sports director and colleague over three seasons. Steven deserves our respect for the courage he’s shown in being honest about the past and it’s right that we do our best to support him.”
The resignations come after cycling’s ruling body endorsed a decision by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banned the American from the sport. Sky has implemented a zero-tolerance policy on doping.
The team said the 52-year-old Yate’s departure was not prompted by any “admissions or disclosures.” Yates has been in the sport for three decades, and his career has included spells on the same teams as Armstrong. Earlier this month Yates told the British Broadcasting Corp. he’d never seen any indication of “anything dodgy” going on while working with the Texan.
Julich left Oct. 25. The Texan, riding for Cofidis, finished third in the Tour in 1998, the year that the Festina team was kicked out because of a doping scandal. Julich never finished in the top 10 after that year.