Brailsford named 2012 top coach

Dave Brailsford has been honoured at the BBC’s Sports Personality awards for his work with British cycling.

The 48-year-old was named 2012 coach of the year after helping guide

Team GB riders to eight gold medals

for the second successive Olympics.

He is also a leading figure at Team Sky, which celebrated

a historic Tour de France

as Bradley Wiggins won from team-mate Chris Froome.

Brailsford first won the top coach award in 2008.

“How could it have been better? 2012 was the year of Super Saturday, of the Miracle at Medinah, of a Weirwolf on the prowl and the fastest moving set of sideburns since Elvis Presley”

“It is a huge privilege to get this award – this year of all years after a fantastic summer of sport,” said Brailsford.

“I am lucky because I get to collect the award but there is a great team behind me. It is about the athletes, it is about the riders and we have a brilliant team in British Cycling and Team Sky.”

Over three Olympic Games, the no-nonsense leader has helped turn British cycling from a sport on the up to a dominant global force.

He has overseen teams who have won a total of 30 medals, 18 of them gold, helping to get the best out of diverse characters such as Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.

On the road, Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the gruelling Tour de France, before following up with Olympic gold in the time trial.

In the velodrome, Laura Trott, Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy all won two titles, with Hoy’s sixth career gold making him the most decorated British Olympian of all-time.

What other coaches say about Brailsford

“He’s obviously a class act to be punching that high for that long, pursuing excellence. He clearly gets the best out of the people around him.”

Paul Thompson

– GB women’s rowing coach

“He’s visionary. The way he works with the team is a massive thing British judo can take from. You look at British cycling and think it’s the perfect model.”

Kate Howey –

Lead development coach, British Judo Association

The success even led to rivals France questioning whether Britain were using “magic wheels” on their bikes at London 2012.

“For some reason they were convinced we were using some kind of futuristic wheel. When they asked, we did say the trick of our wheels is they are round, really round,” he joked.

What Brailsford does believe in is the “aggregation of marginal gains”, where every little aspect of a cyclist’s performance and preparation is analysed in an attempt to save crucial milliseconds.

Alcohol sprayed on tyres to remove dirt before a standing start, heated shorts that keep muscles warm and visored aerodynamic helmets are just three examples.

It even stretches to cyclists taking their own pillows with them away from home to ensure a comfortable sleep, and limiting infections by giving guidance on cleaning hands.

Brailsford, who lives in Ilkeston in Derbyshire, combines an encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling with an obsessive work ethic, relentlessly crunching numbers and other data in a constant quest for a competitive advantage.

Team GB’s performance director has been approached by other sports and businesses keen to use his management skills, but Brailsford said he intends to lead the British cycling team

at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Born in Derby, he grew up in the north Wales village of Deiniolen – where he was a schoolmate of former Wales footballer Malcolm Allen – and became a keen amateur cyclist whose passion for the sport was ignited on family holidays to France.

He studied sports science and worked as a consultant in the perfume industry before joining a small professional cycling club as helper and masseur, before taking on progressively more senior roles.

Peter Keen, Brailsford’s predecessor as performance director, helped recruit him as the sport benefited from lottery funding.

“Dave’s a smart guy. He’s also an edgy guy. Some people see it as a twinkle in the eye, an edge to the way he operates, but he’s driven and ambitious,” said Keen.

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