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Barras changing roles

By:
Bjorn Haake
Published:
September 18, 2008, 0:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 21:50 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, September 18, 2008

After seven years in the role of AIS/Cycling Australia Head Track Cycling and Sprint Coach, Martin...

After seven years in the role of AIS/Cycling Australia Head Track Cycling and Sprint Coach, Martin Barras will be offered a new position with the AIS/CA High Performance Program. Full details are expected in mid-October after an agreement is finalized.

"Martin has made a significant contribution to the program and has been at the helm through a period of unprecedented success for Australia on the track," said National Performance Director Shayne Bannan. "During the time he has worked in his current role Australia has achieved a record medal haul at World Championships, Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games.

Barras coached the Australian track team to win nine medals at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 2004, although the squad won just one track medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, this summer.

No reason for the change was provide in a statement provided by Cycling Australia for the change in Barras' role.

"We look forward to Martin working across some other areas of the sport that we believe will benefit from the expertise, enthusiasm and commitment he delivers as a coach," said Bannan.

For his part Barras says he is looking forward to a new challenge in the sport but admits leaving the day-to-day coaching relationships he currently has with the sprint cycling group will be difficult.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity I have had to coach the national track team for the past seven years and I relish the time I've spent with the team," said Barras who is on annual leave for the next few weeks. "I've let the riders know of the change and I'm sure they'll continue to improve and succeed in the sport."

"Martin has been my coach since I moved away from home in 2003 and it's hard to put into a few words what he means to me and what he's done for me," said Anna Meares, who won Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals and achieved success at World Championships and Commonwealth Games under Barras. "I guess you could say that through the experiences we've had together he has helped me to grow, not just as a cyclist but as a person."

"As sad as I am that he won't be my coach I really want to wish him all the best and I know whoever gets him as a coach in the future is a very lucky person," said Meares. "We've built the kind of relationship that will go far beyond him being my coach and I know we'll be friends for rest of our lives."

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