Sir Dave Brailsford beats rugby stars and footballers to top the Welsh Sport Power list

Praised for methodical approach and forensic attention to detail

by Sarah Barth   April 13, 2013  

09 Dave Brailsford at the TDF 2013 launch © Simon MacMichael

He might not be the obvious choice in a country as rugby-obsessed as Wales, but Sir Dave Brailsford has topped the Welsh Sport Power list for the first time.

Beating others including footballer Gareth Bale and Warren Gatland (Wales and Lions coach), who all appeared in the top 50, Brailsford's 'astonishing achievements over a short period of time' were praised by the judges.

He was also noted for his 'forensic attention to detail' and 'methodical approach' and the judges questioned: 'Can any of his peers in other disciplines make a similar claim?'

Read the judgment in full below:

The  idea that a cycling coach might trump the coach of the Welsh rugby team to top a  Wales Sport Power list would have seemed  entirely ridiculous a while back.

But the fact we today name Sir Dave  Brailsford as No. 1 in our rundown of the  most influential people in Welsh sport is a  testament to the astonishing achievements he  has accomplished over a short space of time.

In the space of barely a decade, the  Welsh-speaking coach has turned Britain  from cycling also-rans into the undisputed  Olympic kings.

Gold medals have flowed with stunning  regularity – 18 at the Olympics over the  course of three Games, with eight at London  2012 alone.

Brailsford has turned the likes of Chris  Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Mark Cavendish and  Laura Trott into household names through  his forensic attention to detail across Britain’s  entire Olympic programme.

And that’s without mentioning the  pro-cycling behemoth of Team Sky – a squad  created in Brailsford’s own image that has  become the world’s undisputed No.1 team  within just three years of its creation.

When Sky launched in 2010, Brailsford’s stated aim of winning the Tour de France with a clean British rider in the space of five years was widely sneered at within the sport.

Britain had next to no pedigree in international road racing, so the concept of producing a winner of the world’s most prestigious and challenging event seemed especially.

But equipped with a philosophy that treasured empirical evidence over accepted convention, and a focus on making marginal gains in every possible facet, Brailsford set about assembling the team that would deliver his goal.

Fast forward to the present, and Sir Bradley Wiggins has already achieved the team’s ambition, two years ahead of time, in his march to becoming one of the most recognisable sportsmen in the country.

In Chris Froome, Team Sky may very well have the winner of this year’s Tour, while Welsh rider Geraint Thomas has become one of the world’s best known riders – arguably more famous in Europe’s cycling hotbeds than in his native country.

Brailsford, through his methodical approach, has almost single-handedly revolutionised a sport that was at its nadir after years of doping scandals. He is being coveted by other sports looking to tap into his recipe for success.

Can any of his peers in other disciplines make a similar claim?

Virtually the entire sport of cycling looks to  the methods pioneered by Brailsford to  inform its approach.

But while professional cycling remains a  niche – if developing – spectator and  television sport in Wales, the high-profile  success of British athletes has sparked an  almost unprecedented boom in participation  levels.

Dave Brailsford has a great deal to do with  the hordes of cyclists that can be found on  roads up and down Wales.

So does that make him more powerful  than, say, Warren Gatland?

In our view, yes. He is the type of sporting  pioneer who comes around barely once a  generation.

4 user comments

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Da iawn Dave bach! Us north-east Walians need more recognition! Big Grin

posted by bikerdavecycling [71 posts]
13th April 2013 - 22:35

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And the best thing, he isn't a "professional" Welshman who blathers on endlessly about being welsh and wear like a badge. Brilliant.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [122 posts]
14th April 2013 - 7:35

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His forensic attention to detail was good for hiring doping Dr Leinders and all the others who had a doping past.

posted by Decster [246 posts]
14th April 2013 - 17:30

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He was born in Derbyshire and moved to darkest Peru, er I mean a village near Caernarfon, at the age of three. I don't know whether or not his parents were Welsh.

Gatland isn't Welsh (for those not familiar with the game).

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1940 posts]
15th April 2013 - 15:35

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