British Cycling has today announced an innovative restructure of its sprint programme aimed at delivering medals at Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
Justin Grace will bring his considerable experience leading performance programmes in Great Britain, New Zealand and France to bear on a system-wide review to deliver sustainable success towards Paris 2024 and onwards.
Jan van Eijden will have exclusive responsibility for the women’s sprint podium programme in the build-up to Tokyo 2020 while Kevin Stewart, who has played a key role in developing sprinters with the senior academy programme, will now manage the men’s sprint podium programme charged with defending three Olympic titles.
Performance director Stephen Park said: “This restructure is not only aimed at supporting our riders so they are in the best possible position to win medals in Tokyo but also to tackle a long-standing challenge in track sprinting by growing the size of our talent pool.
“In men’s sprinting, the Great Britain Cycling Team has benefited from a ‘just in time’ delivery of talented sprinters to the start line at the Olympics. On the women’s side, we have relied on a handful of riders over the last three Olympic cycles. While there has been a lot of success, neither of these are sustainable models.
“Cracking the problem of creating a deeper and wider talent pool for sprinting will not be an easy one – every cycling federation in the world faces the same challenge – and it means doing things differently.
“That is why we are looking to Justin – who has worked in high performance systems in Great Britain, New Zealand and France and knows what it takes to win medals – to take a fresh look at what we do. Asking someone with his high-level technical coaching expertise to be involved in developing coaches in the academy and working with them to find the next generation of sprinters is a sign of how seriously we are taking this.
“Jan, who has been trackside for some of Britain’s greatest gold-medal winning rides, will continue in this role and specifically dedicate his time to delivering world-class support to our female sprinters with Katy Marchant aiming to win a second Olympic medal in 2020. Kevin has already achieved considerable success in getting the likes of Jack Carlin, Ryan Owens and Joe Truman into the podium programme. And, as a sign of our commitment to continuing to develop and challenge our performance staff, he will work with them all the way through to the Tokyo Games alongside established riders Jason Kenny and Phil Hindes, who continue to bring great experience to the team.”