Brent Copeland has resigned his position as European manager at MTN-Qhubeka, citing a lack of input into decision-making at the team, which is the first African squad to be registered at Pro Continental level.
“I was made a thousand promises but things couldn’t go on like that, so I resigned,” Copeland told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I couldn’t accept being just a kind of taxi driver, bringing the riders around. There were also differences with the head of the team on many aspects – technical, logistical, organisational.”
In spite of MTN-Qhubeka’s early success at Pro Continental level, including Gerald Ciolek’s surprise victory at the snow-interrupted Milan-San Remo in March, Copeland became frustrated at what he saw as an increasingly marginalised role at the team. He alluded in particular to the prominence of directeur sportif Jens Zemke in the running of the team.
“The ‘German’ part of the team, let’s call it that, has taken the upper hand,” Copeland said. “And with Douglas Ryder, the team manager, things weren’t working. I made it clear a couple of times that things couldn’t go on like that, that in order to have a certain role, I need to be able to have the power to make decisions. Nothing happened so it was better to leave.”
Copeland spent a long spell as a directeur sportif at Lampre and then worked with Moto GP rider Ben Spies before re-entering cycling with MTN-Qhubeka last autumn.
MTN-Qhubeka team spokesman Xylon van Eyck told Cyclingnews, "Brent has had an incredible impact with our team and setting up our infrastructure in Italy. There aren't many people we could call on to do what he has done and we're very grateful for that. We wish him well with what lies ahead for him. "