After five years as performance director for British Cycling, Peter Keen is to leave the role to take up a new and still-secret challenge "within the UK high performance sports industry". He leaves in June.

Go-faster guru to leave British Cycling

However, Keen is being retained as an "expert advisor" and will have a consultancy role with the Cycling World Class Programme in the lead up to the 2004 Athens Olympics.

"Working with British Cycling to develop a long-term performance strategy has been an immensely rewarding experience for me, but the time has come to move on," said Keen, who has not revealed the identity of his new employer to British Cycling.

"I have such confidence and belief in the present GB team, both staff and riders, that I am one hundred percent sure my move will not reduce their capability to deliver Olympic

medals in both the short and long term. Indeed it was my growing sense of awareness that my mission to establish the programme was complete, that persuaded me to consider new challenges.

"The fact that I will be able continue to provide the programme with expert advice in areas of coaching, sports science and strategic planning is very important to me as my passion for cycling remains and I am anxious to see the team’s potential for Athens fulfilled.

"The great strides forward we have taken in cycling in recent years is in no small part a function of the support I have received from the board of British Cycling and in particular its CEO, Peter King. Peter has been an inspiration to me in the way he has supported and facilitated the many changes necessary to get to where we are today, but I doubt his huge contribution to our current world standing is appreciated in the wider

cycling community."

In a parting shot, Keen delivered to a broadside to "confused and unstable" funding

systems for Olympic sports:

"The National Lottery has breathed new life into British Sport, but the complexity with which funding is distributed threatens to limit future progress if this is not tackled

soon. Governing bodies like British Cycling have to be trusted to invest the funding available more than they are at present, and should be judged on their medium to long term performance."

Despite this, Keen believes cycle sport in the UK will flourish in the years to come:

"Regardless of the difficulties of funding, British Cycling is now poised to make huge progress in terms of grass roots and talent development. The innovative programmes currently being rolled out in these areas are truly exceptional and once established will fuse together with the World Class initiative to form a highly cohesive sports structure which I believe will make us the world’s leading cycling nation in a decade. In my 25 years in the sport of cycling it has never looked so good."

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