In Depth

Dave Brailsford, who made cycling cool, quits Team GB

The inventor of the 'aggregation of marginal gains' will concentrate on Team Sky Tour de France bid

brailsford.jpg

DAVE BRAILSFORD, the man credited with turning the British track cycling team into one of the most dominant teams in world sport, is to stand down from his role as performance director to focus on his job as general manager of Team Sky as they prepare to fight for a third successive Tour de France title.

Brailsford, who masterminded Team GB's successes at the Beijing and London Olympics, is known for his meticulous preparation and his philosophy of "the aggregation of marginal gains", which he has explained as "finding a one per cent margin for improvement in everything you do". 

The approach paid off during his time with British Cycling. "On Brailsford's watch, British riders have won 30 Olympic medals, including eight gold medals at the last two Games, 49 Paralympic medals, and more than 100 World Championship medals," says The Times. "At the same time, he also guided Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome to back-to-back victories in the last two editions of the Tour – the first and second Britons to win the race – as well as playing an instrumental role in turning cycling into a mainstream sport in Britain." 

According to the Daily Mail, Brailsford "has arguably been more influential than any other person in turning cycling into a mainstream sport in this country".

In 2010, in the wake of the triumphs in Beijing and at World Championships, he was persuaded to use his expertise to help the fledgling Sky road cycling team. And for the last four years he has worked for both organisations.  

"The demands of juggling his performance director's post with being principal at Sky has finally proved too much." says The Independent. "Britain’s men struggled through a grim track world championships in Colombia, the worst of his time in charge."

And while performances on the track have fallen away, the demands of the road team have increased. "Sky's success, ironically, is the driving force behind Brailsford's decision," says The Guardian. "As he has found that Team Sky has become more demanding to manage as it has become ever more successful. Team Sky has not only got to defend Froome's Tour title, but the team is opening a performance centre in the south of France which could develop into a commercial venture." 

Shane Sutton has been appointed technical director for Great Britain and will oversee rider performance. Andy Harrison will continue as programmes director with responsibility for the team's development programmes. They will report to British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake.

"However, in what could arguably be the most significant of the changes announced by British Cycling, there will be no role for Dr Steve Peters in the new set-up," says the Daily Telegraph. "The sports psychiatrist, credited by many of the riders as instrumental in their medal success, has decided to step down given his commitment to other teams and sports. Peters now works with both Liverpool and the England football team."

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