Julich, Yates join Tinkoff-Saxo staff for 2015

The former pros will serve as coach and sport director, respectively, for the Russian-registered squad

MILAN (VN) — Ex-pros Bobby Julich and Sean Yates will coach and direct Tinkoff-Saxo’s stars Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan in 2015. The Russian-registered team announced their arrival Monday as part of a management shake-up.

Julich will head the coaching operations. “[Historically,] the coach solely looked after the training and the program,” he said in a team statement.

“My intention is to get involved deep in the life of the riders, not just with the training but with the life-skills advice, the tactical advice, recovery and nutrition.”

The 42-year-old American worked with BMC Racing in the 2014 season and with Yates at Sky through 2012. They both left the British super team during its zero-tolerance shake-up at the end of 2012 and in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping case.

Julich, who finished third in the 1998 Tour de France, admitted to doping in his career and left the team. Yates, who raced alongside and later directed Armstrong, cited personal problems. He directed NFTO this year, but team Tinkoff will mark a return to the big leagues for the Englishman.

They will join Steven de Jongh, who also admitted that he doped in his racing career and left Sky at the end of 2012. The Dutchman has worked closely with Contador since joining the team and received credit for his strong 2014 season.

“I didn’t make a lot of changes, just tiny details,” Contador said in March after winning Tirreno-Adriatico.

“Steven and I are in contact daily, but that’s what we need to do, to focus on the details so that we can win. He’s been supervising my training.”

Tinkoff manager Bjarne Riis also welcomed Spanish ex-pro and former Specialized employee Patxi Vila as a new sport director.

Australian Daniel Healey will make the jump from BMC with Julich. He directed BMC’s Sports Science Division in 2014 and will work in the same role at Riis’ team.

“They are incredibly capable professionals and I consider them an asset for any team as they come with tremendous motivation and great experience,” Riis said of his four new employees.

“They will play an important role in our new and ambitious setup going into the next season and this reflects our clear ambition to deliver results in 2015. They all have big theoretical and professional capacity and will be able to lift the level of our coaching and training.”

Julich and Yates already worked with Riis at team CSC. Yates helped direct the team and Julich raced in the team in his final years (2004-2008) before becoming the rider development manager.

The new arrivals at Tinkoff are part of a managerial shake-up that has been brewing since Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov took over the team last year. Tinkov’s buy-out gave Riis more time to manage the team and to think about the best way to direct the squad’s 30 cyclists. With Yates and Vila in mind, he cut sport directors Philippe Mauduit and Fabrizio Guidi.

The staff changes should support Spanish star Contador in stage races, but also a run at classics success with new signee Peter Sagan. The cyclists, support staff, and management will have time to bond and think about 2015 this week as they climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.