Great Britain’s Simon Jones is the new Cycling Australia high performance director, landing the pivotal job ahead of Australian-born colleague Shane Sutton.
The final two candidates were Jones and Sutton, who had been key figures in British cycling’s ongoing international success.
But Sutton would have been a controversial appointment, given he resigned from his role as British Cycling’s technical director before the Rio Olympics amid accusations of discrimination.
Sutton vehemently denies the claims, while a wide-ranging report into British cycling’s culture is expected to be released next month.
Cycling Australia would not confirm that it came down to Jones and Sutton but chief executive Nick Green was rapt with their choice – a former UK coach of the year.
“It was a highly competitive recruitment and interview process which included a number of high-skilled candidates from a range of sports,” Green said.
“With more than two decades of consistent success at the highest level, Simon brings a tremendous level of experience and knowledge into the organisation and we consider him an outstanding choice.”
Jones is the second major Australian cycling appointment this week, with former Victorian premier Steve Bracks the new chairman.
Jones takes over after Australian cycling’s disastrous Rio Olympic performances.
Dogged by a shocking run of bad luck, the Australian team under-performed as the British dominated for the third-straight Games.
“It’s pretty simple – I’m only here for one reason and that’s to win,” Jones told AAP.
“I haven’t come here to wear a t-shirt.
“I wouldn’t have accepted the job if I didn’t feel there was the quality of athletes, the quality of coaches or sufficient resources to do it.
“It is a challenge, an opportunity.”
Jones was not in Rio – he will join Australian cycling after working at the powerful Team Sky since 2014 as their head of innovation.
Sky are also under pressure because of a mysterious jiffy bag, delivered to the team at a 2011 race in France.
Jones was asked about his thoughts on the state of British cycling and also their fierce Australian rivals as he switches camps.
“I’m just looking forward – I can’t wait to get going,” he said.
Jones is not as well known in cycling as the likes of Sutton or Team Sky boss Sir Dave Brailsford.
But any Australian cyclist conducting a Google search will find that Jones fell out spectacularly with British sprint ace Mark Cavendish.
In his 2009 book Boy Racer, Cavendish said he detested Jones after a couple of confrontations.
“Mark is an incredible champion – what he’s done is just stellar and I’m really pleased for him,” Jones said.
“We shook hands – it’s all water under the bridge.
“When you take a step back and look at it, high performance is a high-pressure environment … you will fall out with people.”
Jones will visit Brisbane early next month for the national track championships and hopes to start in his role by the April world track titles in Hong Kong.
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