Sky’s Sean Yates sounds like an acid casualty

Sean Yates, Sky’s head directeur sportif, has left the team. Sky have had a round of interviews with their staff in order to confirm that none has ever been involved in doping, but they say Yates wasn’t asked to leave because of something that came out during his interview.

Here’s the way I read this:

Sky: Have you ever been involved in doping in any form?
Yates: Listen, I’m going to retire from cycling.
Sky: Oh, okay. Well, we probably don’t need to investigate this if you aren’t going to stay with the team.
Yates: That’s right.
Sky: Okay. Er, bye then?
Yates: Yeah, bye.

Whatever happened, Yates is no longer with Sky, so let’s forget about that and move onto the important stuff, such as the fact that he sounds like some sort of acid casualty.

Yates was responsible for Sky’s tactics out on the road, so presumably he’s pretty sharp. Despite this, during interviews, he comes across as being uncertain and spaced-out. The effect is compounded by his slightly slurred way of speaking.

I remember him being asked to describe echelons once. He sort of half-spun round as if someone had suggested there was an ogre bearing down on him, before making a series of sounds that made it clear he might as well have been asked to explain how microarrays are used in cancer research. Then he explained what an echelon was.

That’s Sean Yates. It’s not that he doesn’t know; it’s that he doesn’t inspire confidence. If you asked him for directions, it would never even occur to you that they might prove correct once you’d heard his response. You’d just write them off as a random selection of lefts and rights that might, at best, lead you to a bar that had closed down 20 years earlier.

Don’t take my word for it though. Listen to just a few seconds of this while pondering the fact that English is his mother tongue. Imagine what his French is like.