British Cycling’s Paul Manning might have won Olympic gold alongside two of the men he may well now instruct, but he insists he will approach his new role as men’s team pursuit coach with a clean slate.
In a coaching reshuffle at British Cycling, Manning is now in charge of Great Britain’s men’s team pursuit, having led the women to six consecutive world records in 2012, ending in gold at the London Olympics.
Before he was a coach Manning won three Olympic medals, the highlight being team pursuit gold at the Beijing Games.
Manning’s title came alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins, Ed Clancy and Geraint Thomas – the latter two having gone on and defended their crown in London last summer.
But despite this familiarity with some of the athletes now under his tutelage, Manning is adamant being their coach is an entirely different prospect.
“I’m excited but it almost feels familiar to me, you’ve been in the squad so there is an association with it,” he said.
“My first tasks are the obvious things really, getting to know the athletes. I’ve known some of them as teammates but I need to come at it with a different perspective.
“I’m starting with a blank sheet of paper – where they are at, a chance to review what was achieved last summer in London and look to try and plan something bigger and better for Rio.
“Various things have been said about whether people will be back in the squad or not. I think time will tell on that one.
“There are opportunities for me to engage with anybody who has aspirations, that’s the main thing at the minute, taking stock of who’s out there and who wants to be a part of it.”
During his tenure as women’s team pursuit coach Great Britain were denied the world title just once – in Copenhagen in 2010.
Chris Newton is now in charge of that squad that boasts the likes of Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell and he admits it was hard to walk away from such a talented bunch.
“It’s not an easy decision to leave athletes like that behind,” Manning added.
“They’re young, enthusiastic and really driven individuals and they obviously combined really well last summer as a team with their track record and Olympic success.
“The continual improvement through 2012 was probably one of the most impressive things; how they kind of gelled and kept pushing each other further on.”
© Sportsbeat 2013