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British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford
Says good support staff key to success in handling both road and track teams
Dave Brailsford was at the opening of the World Cup track season this weekend to oversee the Great Britain team dominate the first two days of racing at the Manchester velodrome. However, the man who also guided Britain to track success at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 now has to split his attention between the road and track, with Team Sky gaining momentum as it spins into its maiden season.
Despite his busy schedule, Brailsford believes that with the right support and a network of staff the high standards expected on the track will not dip.
"It's all about having the best people around me. My senior management team and coaches are second to none. People say it's too much, but I'm not 'hands on' and doing everything so to speak. That's not what I'm going to do and it's not what I'm about. I'm not like that in any respect," he told Cyclingnews trackside.
"It's all about having good people around you, then all you do is stand back and conduct the musicians and their instruments, so I don't play the instruments as it were. It's not my job to do that."
There's still much for Team Sky to do and although Brailsford's ‘musicians’ are already tuning up behind the scenes, the team are yet to announce their full roster, with a handful of places still to be filled. "There are a few more to go but the final pieces are coming together. I would never say we're lacking anything from the team. We're very pleased with the riders we have and I think we'll be competitive. We'll end up with a squad of 25 to 26 riders and possible places are [still] up for grabs."
Brailsford believes that the foundations laid so far will be a solid base from which the team can launch into professional road cycling landscape. The athlete recruitment driven by himself and Scott Sunderland has been crucial to that platform. "In order to be competitive you always look at yourself and competitors and try and find out best practices from there. It's fair to say we've done our homework. For any new team you have to get the foundations right. Good planning, good communications so that everyone knows what their roles and remits are."
However, it hasn't all be plain sailing. There have been rumours surrounding Bradley Wiggins and the will-he-won't-he saga as to whether he'll jump ship from Garmin to join the British outfit. It's a topic that has dominated cycling headlines and internet forums for months. However, Brailsford wouldn't be drawn on the speculation, despite the fact that he and Wiggins met face-to-face in Manchester. Instead, he focussed on the future of Sky as the team, rather than any single individual, including the latest rider to be linked with the team, Cadel Evans, who severed ties with his Belgian team on Saturday.
"There will be problems, like any organisation, but it's how you resolve them that are important. There's no point thinking we're all going to hold hands and skip off into the sunset together. It's unrealistic. There's always background noise, friction, differences of opinion but it's how you resolve them, but the rider comes first."
And as Great Britain continued to dominate the track event into the late hours of the second day of the World Cup, with Chris Hoy winning the Men's Sprint, Brailsford had reason to be confident in his belief that track success and glory on the road are both attainable.
"The process for that is the same. You have dreams and your mission and you go after them. You just apply it to a different set of circumstances. It's not up to us to tell a rider what he should be motivated towards. You've got to respect the intrinsic drive of a rider. Our model isn't about dictating or controlling."
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