Upheavals in the high performance programmes of elite cycling continue with USA Cycling's Jim Miller the latest of the sport's top coaches to depart his national federation. Miller confirmed his exit on Tuesday to Cyclingnews, saying the choice was his.
"Jim has led USA Cycling's athletics programs to unprecedented success, and we are very grateful for his many contributions to American cycling," CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall said. "He leaves the elite athletics department in outstanding shape, and we have ambitious plans in place to build upon his legacy and accomplish even more in the future."
According to USA Cycling, Miller will be joining its partner TrainingPeaks in an as yet unspecified role, and his vacant position will not be filled. The federation will instead readjust existing personnel in its elite athletics program.
Miller has been with USA Cycling since 2001, helping the country to 14 Olympic medals and numerous world championship titles. He was promoted to Athletic Director in 2009 and later Vice President of Athletics. Most recently, Miller was named as Vice President of High Performance after Scott Schnitzspahn moved across from the US Olympic Committee to take up the role as VP of Elite Athletics in August.
The changes came after the federation was forced to revisit its selection procedures following several high-profile arbitration cases over the women's road team for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, amid accusations that Miller, who was a personal coach of eventual gold medal winner Kristin Armstrong, had favored her selection over others.
In his new role, Miller was put in charge of high performance programmes for all of the federation's disciplines, but was further distanced from the selection process, with Schnitzspahn responsible for overseeing rider choices for the various world championships and Olympic Games.
Schnitzspahn said in a USA Cycling press release: "We are sad to see Jim go, but we are very pleased he will be joining a partner of USA Cycling's and will continue to contribute to the American cycling community. We wish him tremendous success."
USA Cycling hired two new performance directors last year as part of a restructuring effort, bringing Kristin Armstrong and Greg Henderson on board in addition to hiring Australian Gary Sutton as head track endurance coach. Sutton was the victim of a shake-up at Cycling Australia after the arrival of that federation's new high performance director Simon Jones.
Sutton replaced Andy Sparks, the husband and coach of now-retired Olympic medalist Sarah Hammer. Sparks was let go under USA Cycling employment rules amid accusations that he had emotionally abused riders on the endurance track team.
There have been similar upheavals at British Cycling, where Sutton's brother Shane was forced to step down in light of sexism and discrimination claims.
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