Senior sports director Scott Sunderland has left Team Sky by mutual agreement, the two parties announced today.
Dave Brailsford, the team principal for Team Sky, said: “We would like to thank Scott for his contribution to Team Sky. He helped us get from the drawing board to being a real road team, working with us from the announcement of the project to our first podium finishes. We all wish Scott the very best, personally and for his future career.”
Scott Sunderland said: “It has been an incredible journey, helping to set up a new, highly professional team from scratch. I’m proud of the team’s achievements so far and wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season, their first Tour de France and a successful future.”
Sunderland was the team’s number one directeur sportif when Juan Antonio Flecha won Het Nieuwsblad in February. He was also in charge during the spring Classics, from Milan-San Remo to Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
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However, the senior sports director was not part of Team Sky’s management set-up at their first ever grand tour, the Giro d’Italia. Instead he was on holiday. Sean Yates has been in charge at the Giro, with back up from Rod Ellingworth and Shane Sutton.
Sunderland was sports director at Team CSC until the end of the 2008 season. He was in charge of the team when Ivan Basso won the 2006 Giro and when Carlos Sastre won the 2008 Tour de France.
In late summer 2008, it was announced Sunderland would be leaving CSC to set up the new Cervélo Test Team.
However, his stay at Cervélo was short-lived. In October 2008, before Cervélo competed in a race, he left the team. He told CW at the Tour de France route presentation in Paris: “We made a mutual agreement that I’m not going to be there.”
At the start of November 2008, Sunderland was spotted talking to Dave Brailsford at the World Cup track meeting at Manchester Velodrome, sparking rumours that he would be joining the new Sky set-up. In February 2009, Sunderland confirmed he would be working for Team Sky.
Sunderland said he would be spending more time with his family. His son Tristan was diagnosed with congenital hepatic fibrosis, a disease of the liver, in August 2009.