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It's All About The Bike
on 13 October 2013
There is more to Sean Yates than the last three years of his career with Team Sky. This book follows his life from unconventional upbringing in Sussex, as elite time triallist and champion, professional road cyclist and successful directeur sportif. Guilty by association in his eyes, he lost his job through being hired simultaneously by the team that nurtured Lance Armstrong. This in response to Sky's policy, applied retrospectively, of not retaining any staff that had been tainted by association with performance enhancing drugs. Yates felt let down and particularly so when Sky, complacently, took several days to release an agreed press statement on the background to his departure.
The challenge of conflating a lengthy sporting life in to 300 pages seems to have been cathartic. He doesn't spare himself from exposing the personal conflicts in his life. For example, he addresses his own health issues candidly together with a strained and ultimately doomed marriage yet retains a touching dependence on his former wife.
Anecdotes abound that turn around the topsy-turvy years with Peugeot before gaining stability and status in the peloton. A manic trainer, tireless racer and general obsessive, vignettes of his career and the personalities and events that flecked his journey flow with wit and self-deprecation.
He remains fond of, and loyal to, Lance Armstrong, a friendship that endures. However, a selective view of his doping and other activities is difficult to accommodate and this contact led to his premature retirement from Team Sky.
Sean Yates emerges as a complicated character, driven, sometimes indiscreet and often insensitive to those nearest him. Nonetheless, professional cycling is the poorer without his presence.