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BikeNZ national coach Tim Carswell is to take up a new position after the London Olympics based at the home of the sport’s ruling body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
Carswell will coach at the UCI World Cycling Centre at its headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, becoming the first New Zealander to earn a paid role with the organisation.
The BikeNZ men’s track coach said he and his family will move to Switzerland following the Olympics in August, with the early announcement of his departure timed to ensure it is not a distraction to the New Zealand team during the important months ahead.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity and we are certainly looking forward to it.” said Carswell. “At the same time right now all my attention is on our preparations for the world championship and the Olympic campaigns.”
The UCI established the World Cycling Centre in 2002 with the aim of detecting and training the most promising athletes so that they reach international level, along with coaches.
As well as providing direction for developing cycling nations as an Olympic training centre, it has also provides an ideal base for nurturing the skills of outstanding cycling prospects.
“We have used the centre for a number of our Olympic and World Championship medallists, with Jesse Sergent, Westley Gough, Shane Archbold, Rushlee Buchanan and Lauren Ellis all going through the Centre as young riders,” said Carswell.
More recently the BikeNZ senior and junior squads have trained in Aigle, as have the national BMX squad.
Carswell’s elevation is seen as recognition of the development programme of both riders and coaches within BikeNZ.
“We are thrilled for Tim. He has been a key component of our success over the last five years,” said BikeNZ High Performance Director, Mark Elliott.
“Tim has played a vital role in our development of world class riders. He has also played a significant role in growing and developing our young staff to ensure we have the skills across the track programme to continue our success into the next Olympic cycle.
“BikeNZ have been able to utilise the UCI facility for several years and they have no doubt seen Tim in action close at hand and also been impressed with the success he has enjoyed with the development of our track programme from such a small nation so far from the cycling stronghold of Europe.”
Carswell said the time was right for him to move on.
“I came in to the role in 2007 and this is my second Olympic campaign. We have come a long way in that time, not only with the development of our riders but also the number of excellent support staff we now have.
“So I know there’s an excellent succession programme in place and some great people ready to take more responsibility.
Carswell, 40, is a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist as a rider with half of New Zealand’s four Olympic track medals earned under his guidance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His wife Fiona is also a former Olympian.
In the meantime it is work as usual for Carswell who is at Invercargill for the national track championships before a training camp for the BikeNZ team heading to this month’s London World Cup.