Team Sky brings experienced Australian triathlon coach Stephens on board
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Team Sky brings experienced Australian triathlon coach Stephens on board

by VeloNation Press at 5:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Brailsford says team is not ‘afraid to look beyond the arena of cycling’ for staff

Shaun StephensIn the wake of the resignation of Bobby Julich from Team Sky after an admission of using doping products during his career, the British team has announced the appointment of a new member to the coaching team.

The 37 year old Australian Shaun Stephens is coming on board, transferring across to cycling after previously working as a top triathlon coach. He was head coach for the Australian national team at the London Olympics, and has also been Head Coach and Programme Manager at the Australian Institute of Sport and Triathlon Australia.

In all, he has coached junior and elite athletes throughout the last four Olympic cycles.

Stephens will take up a position of performance coach. While it’s not quite the same role as that played by Julich, who was Team Sky’s race coach, there is likely to be some overlap in the two positions.

He will work alongside fellow Australian Tim Kerrison, who is Team Sky’s Head of Performance.

Stephens said he was keen to get started in the role with the team. “I have watched their outstanding performances with interest over the last three years and have been impressed by how they have assembled their team and introduced innovative performance strategies to cycling,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to contributing to the team and bringing in new ideas through my sport science and coaching knowledge of triathlon.

“I look forward to the challenges of understanding the intricacies of a new sport and assisting Team Sky build upon the enormous success they have already achieved.”

Team Sky has been reviewing all current staff members after the publication of USADA’s report into the US Postal Service/Lance Armstrong investigation. Julich and Sky directeur sportif Steven de Jongh both stood down from their positions after admitting the use of banned substances during their career, while Michael Barry retired from his role as a rider prior to admitting the same.

Sean Yates has also departed from his role as directeur sportif, but he insisted that his resignation was due to health and family issues, and that there was no admission of improper behaviour.

Stephens does not have a background in pro cycling and while this will mean that he will have less experience of the sport than a former rider, his appointment will avoid the past issues that people such as Julich and De Jongh had.

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said that the new signing showed the team could think outside the box. “Shaun’s appointment continues Team Sky’s commitment to assembling the very best coaching and support staff in the world, without being afraid to look beyond the arena of cycling,” he said.

“It is incredibly exciting to be bringing fresh expertise into the sport, and further reinforces this team’s desire to break new ground in the field of performance.

“The team has taken tremendous strides since the appointment of Tim Kerrison, who came from swimming, and we hope that with Shaun on board we can maintain our position as the world’s number one cycling team.”

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