LONDON, April 11, 2014 (AFP) – Dave Brailsford, the man behind British
Cycling’s Olympic success, is leaving the national set-up to concentrate
solely on his role as principal of the Sky team, it was announced Friday.
As performance director of British Cycling he oversaw eight gold medals at
both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.
The 50-year-old Welshman was also the driving force behind the creation of
Team Sky, who’ve provided the last two winners of the Tour de France — road
cycling’s premier event — in Bradley Wiggins (2012) and Chris Froome (2013).
“This is a big step but it is the right decision for the team and for me,”
Brailsford said Friday.
“Since London 2012, we have worked hard on succession planning and that has
meant we’ve got to a point where I can move on, knowing the team will go from
strength to strength.”
Shane Sutton, previously Brailsford’s deputy, has been promoted to
technical director while Andy Harrison will continue as programmes director.
A new role of head of performance support will be created.
Meanwhile Professor Steve Peters will step down as the team’s psychiatrist.
Peters now works with a range of leading sports figures and teams including
snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan, Premier League leaders Liverpool and the
England national football team.
– ‘Transformation of cycling’ –
Brailsford added: “My role at Team Sky will mean we’ll still work closely
and support the aims of British Cycling.
“I’d like to thank all the great staff who I’ve worked with and of course
the amazing athletes who ultimately deserve all the credit for their success.
“I have some extraordinary memories — not just from Olympic Games and
World Championships but also just day to day seeing cycling go from a fringe
activity to a mainstream sport.
“I’ve always said that, more than any of the medals, the transformation of
cycling in Britain is the single thing I’m most proud of having helped
Sky’s success led Brailsford to conclude he could no longer combine that
job with his British Cycling post.
Recently, he missed two successive Track World Championships due to Sky
commitments, including February’s event in Cali, Colombia where a
disappointing performance prompted a fresh review of the British set-up ahead
of the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Brailsford joined British Cycling in 1998 and took over as performance
director when Peter Keen left in 2003.
He became known for concentrating on “marginal gains” such as harnessing
all possible technological advantages in bike design, as well as mental
Brailsford was knighted after the London Games.
British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake said: “I want to thank Sir Dave
Brailsford for his enormous contribution to British Cycling — the
organisation he leaves behind is transformed from the one we both joined in
“In that time the Great Britain cycling team has not only set the standard
by which British sporting success is judged but also inspired millions of
people to get active through cycling.”
Sutton paid tribute to Brailsford by saying: “He leaves a big hole but we
have a fantastic system in place from playground to club to podium with a
great team throughout the organisation and I am very confident looking ahead