Dave Brailsford, mastermind of Team GB’s dominance in the velodrome at the Beijing Olympics four years ago and again in London this summer, is set to remain in his role as performance director at British Cycling to lead the country to Rio in 2016.
During the summer, as Brailsford in his other role as team principal at Team Sky helped engineer Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France victory, the first by a British rider in cycling’s biggest race, there had been speculation that he would move on after London 2012.
However, speaking after the Glasgow UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Glasgow, the 48-year-old confirmed that he was committed to taking the country’s latest crop of stars to the Olympics in Brazil in four years’ time and that he had turned down offers both from within sport and in the world of business.
“I’m not sure that I was ever going to let go and walk away as it were, but certainly in my mind I liked to think that after working through the Tour de France and Olympics, there was a safety valve where you can just go, ‘OK, let’s stop and look at where we are going’ and that was always built into my thinking,” revealed Brailsford, quoted on Telegraph.co.uk.
“We might structure it slightly different, we might think about long-term succession planning,” he went on. “I like to think we are building something sustainable to Rio that if I just disappeared off sideways nobody would really notice and would just carry on.”
The final say on whether Brailsford will stay in the role he has occupied for a decade rests with former British Cycling chief executive Peter King, who is conducting a post-Olympic review and debrief of Team GB’s riders and backroom staff at the Games.
For Brailsford, it’s an appraisal of sorts, albeit one in which comments about him are made anonymously, but with eight gold medals won in London plus two silvers and two bronze, it would be a shock if it resulted in anything but a glowing reference.
“We’ve come through quite an intense period and, like everything else, we stop and evaluate it,” he explained. “What worked? And what is the most appropriate structure, from a coaching point of view, programme management point of view and my role?
“We always review after every Games but I just felt if you want a really good review you can’t do it yourself,” added Brailsford, who has previously conducted such reviews himself.
“Do it independently, talk about everything.
"And if you do it anonymously and people are confident that they can say what they want and there is no comeback, then hopefully you will get the truth and if you get the truth you can do something about it. Otherwise people will tell you what you want to hear.
“Peter King was somebody who knows and understands all the characters involved. The report is virtually done. If they say ’Get rid of Dave Brailsford’ I will be out.”
Other departures are likely however, with the Guardian reporting that the English Rugby Football Union has already snapped up a key member of British Cycling’s backroom staff, sports scientist Matt Parker, to be its head of athletic performance.
While Great Britain’s success in London as well as that Tour de France win by Wiggins have ensured that 2012 will go down as a landmark year for the country’s cyclists, more recently Brailsford has had some tough decisions to make with sports directors Sean Yates and Steven De Jongh plus race coach Bobby Julich all departing Sky in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.
Following the weekend’s World Cup, Brailsford himself now turns his focus onto his role with Sky, flying to Majorca as Bradley Wiggins begins his winter training with the team holding a three-month training camp with individual riders dipping in and out depending on the training plans drawn up for them.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.