Brian Smith has thrown his hat into the ring for the role of performance director at British Cycling, the former Dimension Data manager telling Cyclingnews that he has "no skeletons in my closet" and that if the governing body needs "someone who knows about the sport and who is motivated then sure, I'd be interested."
The role of performance director has been vacant since Dave Brailsford left the role in 2014 in order to concentrate on Team Sky. Shane Sutton had overseen the British team after Brailsford's departure but was forced to resign earlier this year after several allegations of sexism and other forms of discrimination. The investigation looking into the allegations is still ongoing.
On Wednesday British Cycling released a statement, saying: "Appointing a performance director is a part of the Tokyo [2020 Olympics] strategy submitted to UK Sport in February and will enable the Great Britain Cycling Team to build upon the success the team enjoyed this year and provide greater support to performance staff and athletes. This will include an initial scoping exercise followed by an open recruitment process and further updates will follow in due course."
Reports on Thursday indicated that former elite mountain biker, and performance director at England Netball, Sara Symington is in the running.
"I am serious," Smith said of his own ambitions.
"I reached out to British Cycling when I left Dimension Data but I don't think that they were in a position to do anything at that time, but it's something that I'd consider, for sure."
Smith has been out of full-time team work since leaving Dimension Data at the start of the year. He was credited with transforming the team from Pro Continental to WorldTour level and attracted several high profile riders to the team, including former road world champion, Mark Cavendish, and Edvald Boasson Hagen. He held similar management positions at Netapp Endura and the Cervelo TestTeam.
According to Smith, he reached out to British Cycling earlier in the year and offered his support, contacting the organisation's president.
“I reached out to Bob Howden a few months ago because of the turmoil they were in and just offered my help. That's the last I heard. I don't know what the process is."
Smith stressed that he could bring a new dimension to British Cycling and that his experience was a plus.
"I think they might be looking outside of cycling, for a new face, and a job not for 'the old boys' sort of thing. I don't consider myself one of the boys. I consider myself quite a serious person and I know what needs to be done. I know my way around cycling.
"The best team is already there. They just need someone to direct and coordinate them. If they want someone who knows about the sport and who is motivated then sure I'd be interested."
Smith added that he would be open to working with Sutton, should the Australian be cleared. Sutton is still fighting allegations of bullying and sexism but was a key part of Great Britain's success for a number of years on the track, and also on the road with Team Sky.
"Big shoes to fill," said Smith. "The turmoil and the stuff with Shane, that stuff doesn't phase me at all. I've no skeletons my closet. The team maybe needs a leader and someone to steady the ship."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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