Simon Jones, one of the coaches who set the British cycling team on the road to glory, is poised to return to the UK scene with a new role at Team Sky, looking after performance support and innovation. He will start with the team in January.
Jones was head coach at British Cycling from 2003 to April 2007, having worked with the team as a physiologist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. At the Sydney Games four years later he coached the men’s team pursuit squad to a bronze medal.
Jones went on to work at the Western Australia Institute of Sport in a variety of roles but he returned to the UK as Head of Endurance Sports at the English Institute of Sport in September 2013.
At Sky he will be reunited with Sir Dave Brailsford, the team principal, who was performance director during Jones’ final three years at British Cycling.
Jones’ departure was a surprise, given that he was named Coach of the Year by UK Sport in 2004, after the cycling team’s record haul of medals at the Athens Olympics, but it followed a falling out with one of the country’s best young prospects, Mark Cavendish.
In his first book, Boy Racer, Cavendish claimed that he and Jones had some heated clashes on training camps in Mallorca and Perth.
In Perth, when Jones asked him what his ambitions were, Cavendish responded that he wanted to win stages of the Tour de France and be world champion. “Well, you’re not hitting the numbers to do that,” Jones replied, according to Cavendish. The argument that ensued, he said, “poisoned an atmosphere which was already turning toxic.”
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