Brian Smith has been appointed the new interim general manager of the South African Pro Continental team MTN-Qhubeka. Smith will step into the role with immediate effect, until the end of the year, and will be responsible for signing new riders and appointing a new general manager for next season.
“Brian and I have known each other nearly 20 years, since we were teammates in the late 90's racing in the USA. He often calls me to give advice and suggestions. He has a huge love and passion for cycling and enjoys the uniqueness of our team,” Team Principal Douglas Ryder said in a team press release. “With a big focus on La Vuelta a España in the next month it is fantastic to bring Brian into the team to look towards 2015 and getting the team fully prepared."
Smith is a former professional rider and now works as a television commentator. He was one of the men responsible for the NetApp-Endura merger at the end of 2012, in his role at the manager of Endura Racing. He also worked in a consultancy during the set-up of the Cervélo test team in 2009. The move comes not long after Cervélo was announced as the new bike supplier for MTN-Qhubeka. Smith’s appointment also reunites him with Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervélo, who currently supply bikes to the Garmin-Sharp team.
“It feels good to be back working with some good friends. Dougie is probably as passionate about cycling as I am and it feels right to be working alongside him again,” said Smith. “Gerard and myself have worked together well in the past. It's now a few years down the line and we are both older and wiser. Getting Africa on bikes is a great cause and I hope to help take this message to a global audience by gaining invitations to all the top events.”
MTN-Qhubeka stepped up to Pro Continental level last season and will be making their Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España next month.