British Cycling’s build-up for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics has suffered a further blow after women’s endurance coach Paul Manning quit the key role.
Last week, key male sprint coach Kevin Stewart was fired for gross misconduct, including a “long term pattern of inappropriate relationships with riders.”
Just eight months out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, Manning has decided to quit his role after playing a huge role in the success of the women’s team pursuit squad at the past two Olympics.
British Cycling said that his resignation is not related to Stewart’s departure.
In a statement given to The Times, who first revealed that he had left his role, Manning gave no explanation for leaving the Great Britain team.
“My time as a coach for the Great Britain Cycling Team has helped me recognise how it feels to be part of a high-performance team when they are operating exceptionally well,” he said.
“I will forever remain very proud of the performances I have contributed to and feel I am leaving the squad well prepared for the final push to Tokyo 2021. My remaining time with the team will be focused on a successful launch into 2021.”
Manning was a long-standing member of the Great Britain track team during his own racing career and was appreciated for his ability in the pursuit. He won a gold medal in the team pursuit at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and was then recruited as a coach in 2009, focusing on the men’s endurance team for eight months, before taking on the role of women’s endurance coach in April 2010.
Manning was awarded a high-performance coach of the year prize when Laura Kenny, Dani King, and Joanna Rowsell won the women’s team pursuit gold in a world-record time at the London Olympics in 2012. Last week the women’s team pursuit squad took European gold in Bulgaria in a time close to the world record and collected a haul of other medals.
British Cycling issued a statement saying they would immediately begin recruiting a new women’s endurance coach to replace Manning.
“We will begin the recruitment for a new podium women’s endurance coach imminently, but I am confident that the strength, focus and resilience displayed by all the riders within the squad will ensure we remain on the trajectory for success at the Olympic Games next year,” British Cycling’s head of Tokyo performance planning Jon Norfolk said.
“I would like to congratulate Paul on his fantastic career with the Great Britain Cycling Team, both as a rider and as a coach, and wish him the very best of luck in his next chapter.
“We fully respect his decision to call time on his coaching career with the Great Britain Cycling Team, Paul can reflect back with pride at the significant contribution he has made to the success of the women’s endurance squad and he can leave knowing he has laid the foundations for this legacy to continue in Tokyo and beyond.”