Bradley Wiggins said today that out-going performance director, David Brailsford took the British team from nothing to “the best and most feared” track outfit but that Shane Sutton, he added, can rise to the occasion.
“He’s done four Olympic cycles since he’s been in charge,” Wiggins said ahead of Paris-Roubaix. “The legacy will be that he took us from pretty much a team that was paying for their own travel expenses, bikes and wheels in Atlanta, and not medalling, to the best and most feared track team in the world. He’s been at the head of that, and that says it all.”
Brailsford resigned from his post two years out from the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Guardian reported the news this morning.
“He told me last Friday, but I’ve seen it coming for a while because he’s been umming and ahhing about it,” Wiggins added.
“I don’t think all was well at the velodrome, there was a lot of sort of sniping and things. He’s obviously been under pressure for a while. One bad result and all of a sudden, it’s all Dave’s fault even if he’s coach of the year in 2012. That’s sport, one minute you’re on top of it all and the next minute, one bad result and everyone calling for your head.
“From his point of view, he’s probably took it as far as he can take it. He’s been there for the best part of 15 years now, and it’s been incredible what he’s done, and now he can focus everything on the team.”
Ahead of the official announcement, Wiggins tipped Sutton to slip into Brailsford’s role. The hard-nosed Aussie coached the team in the past. Wiggins explained that it would be odd to see Sutton wearing a blazer.
“I spoke to Shane the other day but I’ve never imagined him in a suit with a blazer. Everyone knows him as coach, manager, motivator, so it’d be odd to see him in a blazer and in that political side of things,” Wiggins said
“He’ll rise to it. He can push himself and he’s up for the challenge, but it’s certainly not an easy pair of shoes to fill.
“He’s always had his ideas on how things should go and he’s quite a hard task-master. As I saw the comments after the World Championships, he says it how it is, and a lot of people don’t like that. He feels that standards have slipped a little bit and a lot of guys aren’t putting in what they could.
“He’s certainly a man to make sure the commitment is there and the work ethic is there. He’ll be good, different to Dave, but he’ll get the right people in that need to do the job.”
Sir Dave Brailsford says that his dual role with British Cycling and Team Sky will be reviewed after the Track