By Daniel Benson
The recently announced British professional cycling team – Team Sky – has today confirmed its latest hiring, Operations Manager Carsten Jeppesen. The former Dane spent eight successful years at CSC and will start his new role immediately. He will work between his native Denmark and the team's UK headquarters in the Manchester.
"The last few weeks have been a process of piecing the team together. I appointed Carsten Jeppeson, who has an organisation management background, and he will add forward planning and support to the structure of the team. He will be a very valuable addition," Performance Director Dave Brailsford exclusively told Cyclingnews.
Brailsford travelled to Belgium on the eve of the Tour of Flanders and spent several days near Gent. He gave a straightforward reason for his trip. "I'll give you one guess. There are quite a few riders here and you can't have a team without riders," he said.
However the man responsible for Britain's Olympic track domination was keen to stress that when it came to signing riders the team would go through official channels of either managers or agents and that all negotiations were being kept above board. "Obviously agents and managers are here and twenty five riders is the magic number we're aiming for. We've already approached more than that number but I can't say more than that."
UCI rules dictate that teams are not allowed to announce new signings until September 1. However riders are not prohibited from making announcements. "It's a tricky situation because the riders will be concentrating on racing and they're still under contracts with other teams. We want to be professional and discreet," he said.
When the team was publicly announced Brailsford did confirm that: ""There will be a core of British riders but the team will not just include home-grown talent. We'll need international riders and I don't ever envisage us having only British riders, but at the heart of the team will be a very British ethos: a British HQ, British staff and a British core."
The team hopes to contest the Tour Down Under when it commences racing in 2010, with the hope of earning a wildcard entry to the Tour de France.