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by Mark Zalewski
February 24, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Cavendish takes first 2017 win at Abu Dhabi Tour; McCabe wins second stage of Tour de Langkawi, Gibbons into lead; Dennis wins Tour de La Provence as Mattia Cattaneo takes final stage; Ariesen wins second stage of Volta ao Alentejo; Cycling Australia poaches Sky’s Simon Jones to head high performance; Van Avermaet heads into Spring Classics with confidence of an Olympic champion; Owain Doull claims disc rotor sliced his shoe in sprint crash on Abu Dhabi stage; Women’s Amstel Gold Race will use traditional Cauberg finish; Belgians Boonen, Vanmarcke ready to start Classics season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne; Baloise Belgium Tour announces 2017 route; Laura Kenny awarded 2016 FT Bidlake Memorial Prize; Trial date set for Armstrong federal whistleblower case; Highlights: Abu Dhabi Tour, stage 1; Highlights: Volta ao Alentejo, stage 1.
Cycling Australia continued on its phase of renewal this week, announcing it had appointed Team Sky’s Simon Jones to head its high performance unit as it seeks to restore the nation to its former role as an Olympic cycling force. It’s a move that harks back to British Cycling’s days of poaching Australians and modeling the system on that of its former colony, yet now the tables have turned.
It hasn’t been the easiest of patches for Cycling Australia. In the past few years the national cycling body has had to dig itself out of financial hole and face a performance decline, which saw the once dominant cycling nation fail to meet expectations at the latest Olympics. Australia won just two cycling medals in the 2016 Summer Olympics, while Great Britain won 12, quite a contrast to 2004 when Australia won 11 and Great Britain four.
Jones, who spent 12 years at British Cycling, was one of the coaches credited for ushering in the turnaround to an era of British cycling strength. Cycling Australia now hopes that the dual-citizen, who will start as high performance director on April 3, can transform the fortunes of Australia with a philosophy of marginal gains and continuous improvement.
“Everybody of course would like better results,” Jones told CyclingTips. “And let’s make it clear, I’m only here for one reason. I’m only taking this job because I want to win – I’m not here for the t-shirt and the suntan.”
The announcement of Jones as a replacement for Kevin Tabotta, who has gone to Orica-Scott, comes just a day after the news that former Victorian premier Steve Bracks will chair the Cycling Australia board.
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