Bobby Julich lost his job with Sky for doping in the mid-90's
(Note, Tim Maloney previously broke the news in his Racy Language column
Team Sky race coach Bobby Julich was forced to resign on Thursday after admitting he had taken a banned substance during his riding career, the British cycling outfit confirmed.
In the aftermath of the Lance Armstrong scandal, Sky, the team of reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins, confirmed their zero-tolerance approach to drugs and asked all staff to sign a statement pledging no previous involvement in doping. And that stance has forced Julich, who had been Sky's race coach for two years, to quit after the American disclosed having taken a banned substance in his past as a professional rider in the late 1990s.
Julich admitted to use of blood-boosting agent EPO between August 1996 and July 1998. "I knew that it was wrong, but over those two years, the attitude surrounding the use of EPO in the peloton was so casual and accepted that I personally lost perspective of the gravity of the situation," said Julich, a former teammate of the disgraced Armstrong.
Julich, who hopes to remain in the sport, admitted Sky's zero-tolerance attitude had attracted him to the team and he revealed his regret at having to depart under a cloud. "I apologize to everyone, especially those associated with Team Sky for my past indiscretions," he added. "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. To this new generation of young riders; I hope that you will learn from the past and avoid the mistakes many of us have made. It is up to your generation to insure that the issues of the past do not affect your future.
I am truly sorry that you all are dealing with something that you had no part in creating."
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said he respected Julich's decision to leave. "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," said Brailsford. "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."
Brailsford and sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters are in the process of interviewing all riders and members of staff at Team Sky to ensure they are running a team with absolutely no connections with doping in the past or present.
Julich's exit came just 24 hours after Tour de France runner-up Chris Froome, who also rides for Sky, admitted he feared several members of the team would lose their jobs as a result of an investigation into past drug use.
"That's going to be part of the losses the team has to make to be able to go forward," Froome told BBC Sport.
Julich, who had worked closely with Froome at Sky, finished third in the 1998 Tour de France and began his career at Motorola, where he was a team-mate of Armstrong, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after being found to have been involved in a widespread doping network.