Team Sky Hires Shaun Stephens as Performance Coach
The 37-year-old Australian worked as head coach for the Australian national team at the 2012 London Olympic Games. According to a Team Sky spokesperson he is regarded as one of the world’s best triathlon coaches.
Stephens is expected to leave his current roles as head coach and program manager at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Triathlon Australia to work alongside Team Sky Procycling’s Head of Performance Tim Kerrison in a full-time capacity.
With a background in sports science and a former job function as Sports Development Manager at the University of Queensland, Stephens has coached junior and elite athletes throughout the last four Olympic cycles and according to Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford his appointment will be of huge benefit to the team.
"Shaun’s appointment continues Team Sky’s commitment to assembling the very best coaching and support staff in the world, without being afraid to look beyond the arena of cycling. It is incredibly exciting to be bringing fresh expertise into the sport, and further reinforces this team’s desire to break new ground in the field of performance."
"The team has taken tremendous strides since the appointment of Tim Kerrison, who came from swimming, and we hope that with Shaun on board we can maintain our position as the world’s number one cycling team."
Many critics believe Team Sky has been forced to hire a person who hasn't been directly affiliated with pro cycling until this point in time, because many of pro cycling's current coaches and team leaders have been blacklisted because of the recently published USADA report on the organized doping in the Lance Armstrong and Team US Postal Service and Team Discovery Channel era.
Team Sky itself has recently had to part ways with its now-former Lead Sports Director Sean Yates, Team Coach Bobby Julich and Sports Director Steven de Jongh.
"I’m very excited about the opportunity to work as part of the Team Sky program," Stephens commented.
"I have watched their outstanding performances with interest over the last three years and have been impressed by how they have assembled their team and introduced innovative performance strategies to cycling. I’m looking forward to contributing to the team and bringing in new ideas through my sport science and coaching knowledge of triathlon."
"I believe it is Dave Brailsford’s vision of introducing a diversity of skill sets into Team Sky, and ultimately the cycling staff and riders’ embracement of new training and competition strategies, that has given Team Sky a competitive advantage over other teams. I look forward to the challenges of understanding the intricacies of a new sport and assisting Team Sky build upon the enormous success they have already achieved."