As Team Sky continue their season in the Middle East their boss Dave Brailsford is back in a Great Britain tracksuit, pacing the corridors of the Manchester velodrome.
British Cycling’s Performance Director will now spend the majority of his time focusing on the British team as they enter a crucial pre-London phase. Through last year Brailsford spent almost all his time with the pro team as it launched itself straight in to the upper echelons of the sport and went through some critical early staff changes. Now he feels he has the staff to run Team Sky without his constant presence.
“The one thing I always wanted was for Team Sky to benefit British Cycling’s 2012 opportunities, and I can see it now,” Brailsford said at the recent Great Britain and Sky training camp in Majorca. “We’re all integrated together. The GB women’s team pursuit [squad] are here with one of the worlds biggest pro teams and it’s all working.”
“I went out in the car, watched the pros do the team time trial, whizzed over to watch the [team pursuit] boys doing their capacity efforts then zipped over to see Paul [Manning] and the women to do their efforts. Whether I see it or not doesn’t make a difference to them, but it makes a difference to me.”
Now, on the eve of the Manchester world cup, Brailsford is confident his vision of a pro team working alongside the national Olympic program will be clear to see over the three days of competition.
Eight riders were in contention for a team pursuit spot building up to this world cup, and four of those – including Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas – are in Team Sky. “We can sit here and say, ‘okay, your race program can be this, yours can be this’, we don’t have to ring anyone and ask them if they can do it. We decide how we can get Brad in the best shape he can be, and the same for [Ben] Swift, and Pete [Kennaugh].”
“It’s the little things as well. [Steven] Burke’s TT bike broke, so he rode a Sky one. All that helps. For the likes of Luke Rowe to be rubbing shoulders with [Juan Antonio] Flecha and [Kurt Asle] Averssen and those guys, it’s a big deal. He’ll go back and talk about that at BC, and all the young lads will think, ‘ah, could I go next year?’, and it’ll build momentum.”
Brailsford is also happy that with all eyes turning to the London velodrome, Sky, backers of British Cycling and the pro team, know where the priorities lie for now. “In 2012 it will be the Olympics first. Absolutely.”
“I think people need to recognise what a fantastic partner Sky are to BC. If there was a choice between Team Sky or the GB team, I’m 100 per cent sure they would back the Olympic effort.