The new Professional Continental Cervélo Test team and Scott Sunderland have mutually agreed to part ways before the 2009 season is underway. Sunderland was the directeur sportif of Team CSC Saxo Bank for the past four years and was going to take on a similar role with the new Switzerland-based team.
In a press release, Cervélo stated it was critical to the team's success that all the key players in the organisation align, both in philosophy and approach. "We have always admired his [Sunderland's] talents and capabilities and we will continue to admire Mr. Sunderland as a great sports director." Both Sunderland and the team agreed that the combination of people to lead the squad into the first season as a professional cycling team wasn't optimal.
Cyclingnews tried to contact Scott Sunderland, but he was unavailable due to the Tour de France presentation. His wife, Sabine Sunderland, gave some more details to Cyclingnews. "Scott has indeed reached an agreement with team owner Gerard Vroomen to stop his further involvement with the Cervélo Test Team. There were considerable differences in vision and approach concerning the management of a professional male cycling between Scott and Cycling United Racing's Thomas Campana. It was in both parties' best interest to part ways in an amicable atmosphere at this stage."
Sabine Sunderland added that her husband sees a bright future for the team. "Scott is very pleased with the great group of riders brought together to form the new Cervélo Test Team, they should be a very successful team next year. We certainly wish our friend Carlos Sastre and all the riders in the Cervélo Test Team all the best for the coming season."
It will also give an opportunity for Sunderland to pursue something different. "Scott himself will be moving on to another exciting project. More news on that will be released in the coming weeks."
For now, the Sunderlands will be happy to enjoy the off-season more than they could the past years. "It's been a very busy year and firstly Scott is looking forward to a family holiday which starts next weekend in Scotland with the Braveheart fundraising ride and dinner."
The team is currently still looking for a sponsor, which isn't easy, due to both the economic situation in general and the doping scandals in particular. Cervélo has a very successful women's team, which will continue to exist alongside the men's team. Thomas Campana will be the general manager for both the men's and women's side of affairs.
Under Sunderland's guidance, CSC won Paris-Roubaix twice (with Stuart O'Grady and Fabian Cancellara), Milano-Sanremo (also with Cancellara). Besides stage wins at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, Sunderland was also at hand when Carlos Sastre finished on the podium of this year's Vuelta a España.
The Braveheart fund supports the ambition of young Scottish cyclists to pursue their dreams. Patron is Olympic champion Chris Hoy. Scott Sunderland, Sean Kelly, Marc Cavendish, David Millar and Thor Hushovd will be present in Kilmarnock next Saturday. More info available on www.braveheartfund.com