Sir Dave Brailsford quits British Cycling to focus on Team Sky

Sir David Brailsford steps down as Great Britain coach

Sir Dave Brailsford has quit as performance director of British Cycling to concentrate on running Team Sky.

The 50-year-old led Great Britain to eight gold medals at both the Beijing and London Olympics and has transformed the sport during his 10-year reign.

"It's a big step but the right decision for the team and for me," he said.

Head coach Shane Sutton will now become technical director responsible for rider performance ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Since taking charge of Team Sky in 2009, Brailsford masterminded Tour de France wins for Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and Chris Froome last year.

The success of Team Sky has taken more and more of his time, leading to his decision to now concentrate all of his efforts on the road-racing team.

He is currently preparing for this year's Giro d'Italia, which starts in Belfast next month, and the Tour de France, which starts in Yorkshire on 5 July.

Andy Harrison will continue as British Cycling's programmes director and, along with Sutton, will work alongside a new "head of performance support".

Steve Peters, meanwhile, has stepped down as the team's psychiatrist. 

Brailsford told BBC Radio 5 live: "It's been a little bit like running Liverpool and England, to use a football analogy, and it came to a point where it was getting so stretched that I felt it was the right time to step to one side and let the next team to step up.

"There are brilliant coaches who are still in place so there will be continuity and a smooth handover and I won't be far away. I'm still in the sport and hopefully at hand if anybody needs any help or advice."

He added: "I'd like to thank all the great staff who I've worked with, and of course the amazing athletes who ultimately deserve all the credit for their success.

"I have some extraordinary memories - not just from Olympic Games and World Championships but also just day-to-day, seeing cycling go from a fringe activity to a mainstream sport.

"I've always said that, more than any of the medals, the transformation of cycling in Britain is the single thing I'm most proud of having helped achieve."

British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake paid tribute to the contribution of Brailsford and Peters, and added: "In Shane and Andy, I'm confident we have the right management team to take us into Rio and beyond.

"The sport of cycling in this country has travelled a long way in the last few years but the best is yet to come."

Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins, who has worked closely with Brailsford, was also full of praise for his achievements.

"He has taken us from a team in Atlanta in 1996 who had to pay for their own kit and not medalling, to the best, most feared track team in the world," he said.

Brailsford joined British Cycling in 1997 and took over as performance director when Peter Keen left in 2003.

He revolutionised the sport with his attention to detail and focussing on "marginal gains" which brought Team GB 30 Olympic medals - mainly on the track - between 2004 and 2012.

He was made MBE in 2005, CBE in 2009 and was knighted after the London Olympics.

In December 2012 he won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award for a second time.

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