Bannan confident in Australia's high performance progression

Former director of Cycling Australia's high performance program, Shayne Bannan, is confident that the arrangements put in place after his departure will enable the sport to continue its solid progression in the country.

Bannan had worked with Cycling Australia since 1986 and recently announced his resignation from the role, telling Cyclingnews: "The last three or four months - since July - I had been looking at the decision and the options open to me. It was just a matter of timing."

With the 2012 Olympics less than two years away, Bannan explained that the program's goals were focused on that event in the immediate future and that he "had been in discussion with those in the high performance program and we looked at the strategy moving forward."

Hitherto National Technical Director Kevin Tabotta will take over as National Performance Director whilst Paul Brosnan will be the general manager of the high performance program.

"Since 2005 Kevin had been in his [previous] role and moving forward Paul Brosnan will essentially be a second in charge for him," said Bannan. "It's not about one person, however, it's about depth. Kevin and Paul are a good combination for the future, with their enthusiasm and commitment and the emphasis is on being a professional team."

In the meantime Bannan is preparing to make make public his personal plans for the future, which will be timed to coincide with an announcement emanating from Jayco owner Gerry Ryan on January 17. He wouldn't be drawn on suggestions he is linked to the latter development but said he is examining his options.

Under 23 program vital to road progression

Australia has produced a steady stream of talent over the past five years - the likes of Simon Clarke, Matt Goss, Matthew Lloyd and Michael Matthews have come through the Australian Institute of Sport's road program based in Varese, Italy - and Bannan believes that the planning Cycling Australia has undertaken will help ensure that continues.

"The future of cycling in Australia will be shaped by a global strategy going forward as we look towards the next four-to-six years," said Bannan. "It's important that we maintain stability and the under 23 program continues with the resources to do what it has been doing. The sustainability of the program depends on providing the right environment and resources to develop people."

It also aids in avoiding the situation encountered by Australia's track team post-Athen Olympics, whereby much of the squad went into the Beijing Games without the requisite experience to perform at the highest level, which was reflected in the results - Anna Meares was the only rider to attain a medal when she finished second in the women's individual sprint.

Bannan defended the decisions made at the time but admitted that a gap did exist before the 2008 Olympics. "There was a fairly big gap between the older hands with experience and the young riders coming through before Beijing but I think at the time we made the right decisions," he said.

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