Bobby Julich will leave his coaching job with Tinkoff-Saxo at the end of this season, confirming a report in L’Equipe that he will exit the WorldTour team.
Julich wrote in an e-mail to VeloNews Monday that he could not reveal details, but said, “we are agreeing to part ways next year.”
The French sports daily reported Monday that Julich and head of sports science Dan Healey would leave the WorldTour team at the end of the 2015 season. There was no immediate response from Tinkoff-Saxo management, but a press release to confirm the news could be released shortly.
The 43-year-old Julich joined Tinkoff-Saxo this season after working in coaching jobs at Team Sky and BMC Racing upon retiring in 2009.
Julich brought coaching techniques he picked up at both of those teams to Tinkoff-Saxo as team owner Oleg Tinkov was looking to bolster the team’s science and coaching departments. It was part of a larger shakeup at Tinkoff-Saxo coming into 2015, when sport directors Fabrizio Guidi and Philippe Mauduit were shown the door to make room for Sean Yates and Patxi Vila, a former pro who was working with Specialized last year.
Rumors circulated earlier this season, however, that some of the coaching techniques were not welcomed among the team’s top riders, and Monday’s news confirms that things were not working out as hoped between Julich and Tinkoff-Saxo.
Julich was spotted at races earlier this season, but was conspicuously absent during this year’s Tour de France. When asked in July if Julich was still with the team, a spokesman said Julich was working at an altitude camp instead of attending the Tour.
Julich, who finished third in the 1998 Tour de France, admitted that he doped early in his professional career, and exited Team Sky’s coaching staff in 2012 after the UK-registered team imposed a “zero tolerance” policy. Steven De Jongh, now lead sport director at Tinkoff-Saxo, also left Team Sky in the wake of the 2012 U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s Reasoned Decision that sent tremors across the peloton. Julich was not mentioned in the USADA report, but he came clean only to lose his job with Team Sky.
It’s not known if Tinkoff-Saxo will name new coaches for next year. Vila was spotted during the Tour helping riders go through their warm-ups ahead of the opening time trial in Utrecht, suggesting that changes were already in place earlier this season.
The news signals the latest in a series of shakeups inside Tinkoff-Saxo. Earlier this season, Tinkov sacked former owner and general manager Bjarne Riis in an acrimonious breakup.
On Tuesday, Tinkoff-Saxo released this statement:
Tinkoff-Saxo would like to clarify some incorrect reporting that was released yesterday by certain publications, in regard to Bobby Julich and Daniel Healey.
All parties had agreed to make this announcement once the season was over in order not to distract the team while at the races, but now feel the need to make an official joint statement to clear things up.
At no time were Bobby Julich or Daniel Healey fired from Tinkoff-Saxo. Several weeks ago, a mutual decision was made on behalf of all parties involved to end their professional relationship due to a difference in opinion regarding the future vision of the team. This decision was reached amicably.
Tinkoff-Saxo holds both Julich and Healey in high regard and wishes them all the best in their future endeavors.