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Team Sky has appointed Dan Hunt to the role of Sports Director for 2013. Hunt moves across from working as a track coach with British Cycling, although he previously spent some time as a race coach with Sky in 2010.
Hunt’s appointment comes after a turbulent winter for the Tour de France-winning squad, in which Bobby Julich and Steven De Jongh left Sky’s coaching staff as part of its new zero-tolerance policy on doping. Sean Yates also retired from his position as sports director, citing health reasons.
Previously a sports scientist at the Welsh National Institute of Sport, Hunt joined the British Cycling set-up in 2005 to coach the women’s programme, before beginning work with both track teams in 2009.
“I want to learn the races and re-learn the job of a Sports Director. But maybe also bring different things to the table, because I’m not an ex-pro. I haven’t ridden these races, so I’ve got a bit of homework to do,” said Hunt, according to the Team Sky website.
Hunt had an active role at Team Sky during its inaugural season in the peloton in 2010, although by the end of the campaign, his focus had returned to the track as the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics began in earnest.
“In 2010, I was asked to DS on the road. I ended up doing quite a lot – around 80 days,” he said. “I didn’t start racing until Tour de Picardie in May so it was a lot of racing, mainly as second DS. I did a heavy summer road programme and then went straight back onto the track. 2010 was the start of Olympic qualification and we had to start scoring points, starting at the European Champs.”
With a crossover of riders between Team Sky and the British men’s team pursuit squad, including Geraint Thomas and Pete Kennaugh, Hunt continued to liaise with the road operation, and he said that it was always his intention to make a fulltime switch to Sky after the Olympics.
“Having done a bit of DSing in 2010 it was actually quite hard to go back to the Olympics, particularly two years out from the Games,” he said. “But I’m really glad I did as I wouldn’t want to have missed out on the experiences that I’ve had. Equally I don’t want to do another four-year cycle as Olympic coach - I want to move into DSing.”
Although Hunt never raced as a professional, he believes that his sports science background can make a positive contribution to Dave Brailsford’s backroom team.
“I think you have to look outside of your own world. Otherwise the team surrounds itself with people who act, think and believe in similar things. We have a really nice mix in the coaching team and together we’ve got all the skills. As long as we keep on operating as a team I think we’ll be fine.”