No track world championships for British manager
Sir Dave Brailsford has confirmed that he will not travel to Cali, Colombia for this week's UCI track world championships, preferring to stay in Britain as he works on the foundations of Team Sky for 2015.
Eleven Team Sky riders' contracts end this year and Brailsford knows he has to strengthen the roster, especially for the Classics, if it is to remain as one of the best teams in the sport.
Brailsford was busy building relationships in the peloton during a visit to the Tour of Oman and also spent time with team leader Chris Froome, who no doubt has input on who joins the team to help continue his domination of stage races.
Brailsford has recently hinted that he would review his role as the head of the Great Britain national team so that he can focus on Team Sky.
Speaking to Cyclingnews, he clarified that he will not quit his role but he is likely to give the rest of the current Great Britain management team far more responsibility.
"I'm not saying I'm walking away for one minute. People shouldn't misinterpret what I'm saying. It's a chance to review and make sure we've got the right structures in place going forward to Rio 2016," Brailsford told Cyclingnews.
"It's always good to sit down and review, and we'll do that after the track Worlds. I've got no drastic plan or preconceived ideas. It's just a good opportunity to make sure we've got an optimal management structure."
Brailsford has been the mastermind behind the success of the Great Britain cycling team for the last decade and created Team Sky in 2010.
"People perhaps credit me with a lot more than perhaps they should," he said modestly. "We've got a fantastic team of people in the Great Britain set-up. We've got Shane Sutton, who is very experienced and very capable. We've got experienced coaches, staff and riders. It's a great operation."
'Horizon scanning' to prepare for future problems
Despite winning the last two editions of the Tour de France with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, Brailsford knows that Team Sky cannot become complacent. After accumulating marginal gains, the innovative British manager has begun 'horizon scanning' – looking to foresee the problems and objectives Team Sky will face in the years to come and building the strongest possible team to achieve and resolve them.
"We've got eleven guys out of contract this year and we're constantly trying to build and improve the team," Brailsford explained to Cyclingnews.
"There's a period when you look at riders. We've got some great riders we want to re-contract and so keep the nucleus of the team together. But there are also opportunities to see if you can bring someone else in.
"There are new challenges coming up and new riders are coming through. The minute you think you've got the right solution to everything is the minute you start losing."
"As you'd expect, other teams are stepping up and so you can't stand still. No one team dominates forever and it's the same case in cycling. I think we're pushed to stay on top of our game because everyone else is working hard on their game too."
Team Sky has struggled to win big in the one-day Classics and adding a new team leader for races such as the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix is a logical priority. But Brailsford points out that the recruitment drive will be for every kind of race.
"I think it's across the board. As we saw in Oman, it was super competitive even early in the season. If you want to keep winning stage races, you've got to step it up," he said.
Team Sky will retain its British core but even British riders will have to earn their place on merit, not thanks to their nationality.
"I think you've got to look at ability first. That's what matters and you go from there. That's how I've always worked and it's the rule we'll use again for the future of Team Sky."
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