Sky recruit triathlon coach Stephens
Team Sky have appointed triathlon specialist Shaun Stephens as performance coach for the 2013 season in the wake of race coach Bobby Julich's departure after admitting to doping.
The 37-year-old Australian, who served as head coach for the Australian national team at the London Olympics 2012, will step down from his role with the Australian Institute of Sport and Triathlon Australia to join the team full-time.
Regarded as one of the world's best triathlon coaches, Stephens will work alongside fellow Australian Tim Kerrison, Team Sky's Head of Performance. Like Stephens, Kerrison arrived at the team with a background outside cycling - his specialist field was swimming - but is regarded as instrumental in the team's success at the Tour de France.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to work as part of the Team Sky programme," Stephens said. "I'm looking forward to contributing to the team and bringing in new ideas through my sport science and coaching knowledge of triathlon."
While Stephens has not been appointed as Julich's direct replacement, he is likely to inherit a number of the key responsibilities within the team.
The American left Sky after admitting to doping during his cycling career during a team-wide review of their zero-tolerance policy in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal, along with sporting director Steven de Jongh and rider Michael Barry.
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford hailed Stephens' appointment as testament to the team's continued commitment to innovative approaches in the pursuit of excellence.
"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," Brailsford said.
"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."