Cycling: Brailsford’s exit ‘will not be a Fergie moment’ England’s insist British team

 

Ian Drake, British Cycling’s chief executive, insists Sir Dave Brailsford’s departure as performance director will not prove a “Fergie” moment for Britain’s most successful sporting institution of the last decade.

Brailsford will focus his attention on Team Sky and be replaced in the British set- up by a trio of coaches.

Shane Sutton, Brailsford’s right-hand man for a decade, becomes technical director and will work alongside Andy Harrison, the programme director installed in the wake of London 2012, and a new appointment as head of performance services. The position will be advertised shortly, with Dan Hunt, who left British Cycling for the Premier League, a potential frontrunner.

Discussions over Brailsford’s role at British Cycling, in which he has made this country the dominant Olympic force, have been on-going since London 2012 as it became clear the task of juggling his roles at the Manchester Velodrome and Team Sky was becoming increasingly difficult. Brailsford has not attended the last two track world championships, including February’s in Colombia where Britain returned their worst results of his tenure.

The change did not come as a surprise to many, including Sir Bradley Wiggins. He said: “I don’t think all was well at the velodrome, there was a lot of sort of sniping and things. He’s obviously been under pressure for a while.”

Drake claims it is the right time for change, two years ahead of Rio 2016, and that the strength of the system built by Brailsford ensures his departure will not cause long-term damage. Sir Alex Ferguson was one of those Brailsford consulted in the course of plotting his departure.

“With any iconic figure such as Sir Alex or Sir Dave there are always going to be those questions asked,” said Drake. “What you need to look at is if we go back to London 2012 we had a very young squad – the average age was 25 and eight of those medallists were under 25. It is not as if the talent is going away.

“We have been talking about this for a couple of years. Importantly, Dave is going to remain a critical friend to the programme. Team Sky made a massive contribution to medal success in 2012 and we envisage a similar scenario for Rio as well. It is not as if we are going to lose that expertise. I’m not worried about it because of the system and legacy that Dave has left behind.”

Sutton went public with his belief the system needed freshening up before Brailsford’s departure was announced yesterday. Sutton’s new role will still see him oversee the riders on the road to Rio. Britain’s women’s squad has never been stronger, despite its relative youth, but the men’s is struggling.

Sutton will, though, have to share the overall leadership role with Harrison and the new head of performance services, with Drake claiming it is to protect against resources being stretched too thinly.

Brailsford has no doubt he has left a system fit for purpose. He said: “This is a big step but it is the right decision. 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.”

Brailsford, who joined British Cycling in 1998 and became performance director in 2003, will now concentrate on Sky’s quest to win a third successive Tour de France. Under his direction Britain won eight gold medals in Beijing and London.

The sense of an era closing was heightened yesterday with psychiatrist Steve Peters also ending his involvement. He is working with Liverpool and England at the World Cup but will help find a replacement before he departs.

New-look structure of British cycling

Shane Sutton: technical director

The straight-talking Australian was head coach under Brailsford and was a key player in the success of 2008 and 2012. Will focus on the Olympic squads.

Andy Harrison: programme director

Joined last year from English Institute of Sport. Charged with ensuring young talent rolls off the production line.

To be appointed: head of performance services

The new role will be ranked alongside the other two and also report to the chief executive. The recruitment process will begin shortly.

Robin Scott-Elliot

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower