‘He was one of the first coaches to believe in my potential’: Heiko Salzwedel, former British Cycling Olympic coach, has died

Salzwedel helped Team GB to some of the biggest successes on the track

Heiko Salzwedel and Bradley Wiggins at the 2016 Track World Championships in London
Heiko Salzwedel and Bradley Wiggins at the 2016 Track World Championships in London
(Image credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

The former British Cycling coach Heiko Salzwedel has died.

Riders and colleagues who worked with Salzwedel during his three stints with the British Olympic team have paid tribute, including gold medallists Callum Skinner and Owain Doull, as well as performance director Stephen Park. 

German media reports that Salzwedel’s death was confirmed on Thursday (September 30). He was 64 years old and leaves behind a wife and two children.

After beginning his coaching career in Germany in the 1990s, Salzwedel worked as the national coach for Australia, Denmark, Russia, and Switzerland. 

Some of his biggest successes came during his time with British Cycling, where he worked from 2001-2002, 2008-12, and finally from 2014-18. 

After his departure from British Cycling in 2019, Salzwedel worked as a regional trainer for the Brandenburg Cycling Association. 

During his time as the men’s endurance coach for the Great Britain Cycling Team, Salzwedel helped guide the GB team pursuit squad to gold in Rio 2016 with Sir Bradley Wiggins, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Owain Doull. 

Doull, who has since gone on to a successful WorldTour career on the road, said: “Heartbroken to hear the news of Heiko’s passing. 

“His loyalty and commitment to ‘his boys’ was a mark of his character. He was one of the first coaches who believed in my potential, and for this I will always be grateful.

“Thoughts are with his friends and family. RIP Heiko.”

But his influence was also felt outside the men’s endurance team, as retired sprinter and gold medallist Callum Skinner said: “It wasn’t just his own boys (endurance). I loved this guy.

“A maverick who didn’t always fit with the British Cycling box culture (in a good way). 

“Embodied one of my favourite quotes: ‘never do a job you aren’t prepared to lose’. 

“The most hired and fired man at BC. Legend, RIP.” 

Stephen Park, the current BC performance director, said: “It has been very sad to hear of the passing of Heiko Salzwedel. 

“He worked [with] and influenced many riders and coaches at GBCT and around the world.

“British Cycling sends our condolences to all who knew him.”  

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.