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British Cycling sacks Sir Bradley Wiggins' coach as new boss rings the changes

British Cycling sacks Wiggins' coach as new boss rings the changes
By PA Sport

13/10/2017 at 15:17Updated 13/10/2017 at 16:25

The man who coached a Sir Bradley Wiggins-led team pursuit quartet to Olympic gold at Rio 2016 has been sacked by British Cycling as new performance director Stephen Park reshapes his senior team.

Press Association Sport understands Heiko Salzwedel was escorted from the National Cycling Centre by security on Wednesday and has lost access to his staff email account.

British Cycling has refused to confirm the German endurance coach's exit but it is understood this is because a severance package is being negotiated.

Salzwedel has also worked in Australia, Denmark, Germany and Russia, enjoying considerable success, and was instrumental in helping the men's team pursuit overhaul their Australian rivals since returning to the Great Britain set-up for a third stint in 2014.

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The 60-year-old, however, is only one of a number of changes at British Cycling's Manchester base.

Jon Norfolk, the head coach of GB's para-cycling team, has been poached by Cycling Australia, only five months after receiving an MBE for his work in Rio, while BMX coach Grant White has been made redundant following UK Sport's decision to cut his programme's funding for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Popular physio and lead carer Hanlie Fouche is also leaving the team, as have several members of the analysis and strength and conditioning units.

It has been suggested that Salzwedel was the victim of a 'rider revolt', with senior riders such as Mark Cavendish and Ed Clancy not thought to be fans of his methods, but two sources close to the team have told the Press Association that his exit is more to do with Park wanting to bring in some new faces.

Park, who ran the British sailing team for 15 years, was appointed as British Cycling's first performance director since Sir Dave Brailsford left in 2014 last December but did not really start work until April's Track World Championships in Hong Kong.

A turnover of staff in Olympic and Paralympic sport is not unusual in the first year after a Games, as some retire, some leave for better jobs and changes in funding can force bosses to make tough calls on redundancies.

But one source said Park was understandably trying to assert his authority and "freshen things up", while the other said Salzwedel is a "good guy but dated - I can see how that went south".

British Cycling as a whole has been through huge changes over the last year, as the fall-out from the decision to drop Jess Varnish before the Rio Games and subsequent investigation into claims of bullying and discrimination saw the governing body lose technical director Shane Sutton and chief executive Ian Drake.