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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 06:29 GMT 07:29 UK
Life with Lance: Sean Yates
Sean Yates in the Tour's yellow jersey in 1994
Yates was a former yellow jersey wearer in the 1994 Tour
Britain's Sean Yates has had the honour of wearing the Tour de France's yellow jersey, having led the race on home soil in 1994.

Since hanging up his bike, he has had numerous roles but is now sporting director at the Discovery Channel team, working closely with Lance Armstrong and team boss Johann Bruyneel.

Here, he tells BBC Sport about his role in the team.


It's a bit odd but I guess strictly speaking I'm Lance's boss, although some days it doesn't feel like it!

We've got a good rapport, having ridden alongside each other in the early part of his career.

But I've got to make sure all the riders are happy and everything is in place for them, whether that means food, medical back-up or simply getting to the start on time.

I like to think there's mutual respect between myself, Lance and the rest of the riders. As sporting director, I don't shout and scream at them. But I'm not too soft either.

Born: 18 May 1960
Nationality: British
Team: Discovery Channel
Job title: Sporting director
Tours: 12 (as a rider)
Best Tours: 1989 - 45th; 1994 - briefly wore yellow jersey

While our Tour efforts are all about Lance winning, my job is not all about him. It's important to get everyone in shape for the race.

Johan Bruyneel is our head honcho. He directs the team tactics for the race as well as the entire season, but he takes on board information from those around him.

Generally speaking, my day begins ridiculously early. I get up two hours before the riders to enable me to go out for a ride. Once I return, I'm at their beck and call.

I have to liaise with the medical team on each individual, check all's well with the mechanics and then report back to Johan.

Breakfast is all sorted out and I'm then in charge of making sure we all make it to the stage start in time. There's nothing worse than a rider getting lost. Believe me, it happened many a time in my riding career.

Then once the race begins, I'll be in the team car with a mechanic for any running repairs needed for any of the Discovery guys.

I'd give anything to still be mixing it with Lance and the rest of them on the bike
Every single day throws up something new, whether it be a straightforward puncture or a nasty crash. You've got to be prepared for pretty much anything they choose to throw at you.

I guess it's just a case of practice makes perfect.

Away from the Tour, I'm in charge of looking after six or seven of our riders, among them Britain's Roger Hammond and Italian Paolo Savoldelli, who won the Giro d'Italia.

It's up to me to decide what they do, both in terms of training and competition. I let Johan know what I've decided and he generally trusts me. And should Johan not be around for whatever reason - as in the Giro - I take over his role.

In summary, I guess it's the second best job in the world. I'd give anything to still be mixing it with Lance and the rest of them on the bike.



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