Frederic Magne, the Frenchman who represented his country in four Olympic games and won seven world titles on the track (four on a tandem, three in the keirin), has been named to lead Japan's cycling team. Magne will help the team to build their program towards the London Olympic Games in 2012. Mange previously was head coach at the UCI's World Cycling Centre, and will start developing the program with the fundamentals - a solid coaching system and programs to develop younger riders, according to AFP wire reports.
In the country which invented the keirin, it seems surprising that an outsider would come in to run what appears to be a track-centric program. However, many Japanese riders prefer to compete in the more lucrative professional keirin circuit rather than in international races. Magne will try to change this situation, and make sure the riders gain as much experience as they can in international competition.
The upcoming Olympics will serve as a building experience, "Whoever I will see at the first step in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the main reason of all the work that we are going to do will be very significant in London," said Magne. The ultimate goal of medals in the 2012 Olympics rests on a young team, including 22 year old Tsubasa Kitatsuru who won the gold in the men's sprint at December's Asian Games. Magne is optimistic about his riders, saying "I think at the moment the situation is good, because we have some riders with experience, and we have some very, very young talented riders."