Sir Dave Brailsford to rethink British Cycling role after Track Worlds

Change in focus on the cards as Sky's success makes it increasingly difficult to juggle two roles

by Simon_MacMichael   February 17, 2014  

Dave Brailsford faces the press, Paris, October 2012 (copyright Simon MacMichael)

Sir Dave Brailsford, who as performance director of British Cycling has masterminded Team GB's dominance in the velodrome at the last two Olympic Games, says he will review his position after the forthcoming UCI Track World Championships in Cali, Colombia, as he seeks to juggle that role with that of team principal at Sky.

In November 2012, Brailsford committed himself to four more years in his position with British Cycling, planning to remain there until after the Rio Olympics.

While there's no suggestion he will seek to end his involvement with the national team, it seems likely that changes will be made to his role due to the increasing demands that his job at Sky are placing on him.

Those have already led him to take a step back from his role at British Cycling, with a programmes director appointed last year to take one some of his workload.

"It is getting more and more difficult and I think, post-worlds, it is always a good time to sit back and review and see where I am at," reflected Brailsford, quoted on Sky Sports ahead of the World Championships, which take place from 26 February to 2 March.

"The size of the challenge in Team Sky has grown over the last few years. Having won the Tour twice, it has put us on the map globally, and it feels like a bigger challenge.

"The thing that I am concerned about is to make sure that the Great Britain cycling team is in the best possible shape going into Rio.

"If I was occupying a certain space, but for whatever reason I didn't feel like I was optimising what I could do, then I would change my role.

"It is nothing drastic. It is just a question of continually managing and evolving the situation.

"I don't want to get to the point where I feel that I am getting stretched so broadly that I am diluting my own impact. I wouldn't be happy with that."

Brailsford was knighted in the 2013 New Year's Honours List after helping Team GB secure eight Olympic gold medals at both Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. At Sky, he oversaw Sir Bradley WIggins' successful Tour de France campaign in 2012, and that of Chris Froome last year.

He said that the depth British Cycling has on the coaching side, plus the fact that track cycling is characterised by peaks and troughs in activiity, mean it is easier to make changes to that role rather than his one with Sky.

"The experience of the staff and the coaches here [British Cycling] has grown, so we have got a much more experienced group," he said.

"We have bolstered the team, we have brought in a programmes director, who manages day-to-day programmes of the operation.

"We have Shane [Sutton] as head coach. We see things very much the same way. On a day-to-day basis, he is here managing that side, so the nature of my role here is changing.

"The wavelength at British Cycling is in four-year periods, whereas within Team Sky, it is a bit more like an annual sporting season, where we have the Tour de France every year, so it is like having an Olympic Games every year. That demands a constant level of focus and attention," Brailsford added.