(Reuters) - British Cycling appointed Stephen Park as its new performance director on Friday with the task of directing the fortunes of a hugely successful Olympic sport for Team GB amid a period of considerable turmoil.
Park has left his successful role as the Royal Yachting Association Olympic manager to take over the cycling post that has been vacant since Dave Brailsford left in April 2014 to concentrate on his responsibilities with Team Sky.
The 48-year-old Park comes in at a difficult time for the sport in Britain as it awaits the results of an independent investigation into the culture at British cycling’s national governing body.
British cyclists have enjoyed another year of success on the track and the road, winning six golds and 12 medals overall at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after Chris Froome won his third Tour de France title.
But the sport has had to deal with the fall-out from the resignation of former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton amid allegations from riders of sexism, bullying and discrimination.
Last month Australian Sutton, who has rejected the allegations, said he would appeal after British Cycling found him guilty of using sexist and discriminatory language.
This year has also seen a positive drugs test for the British cyclist Simon Yates and a UK Anti-Doping inquiry into allegations of “wrongdoing” in the sport.
The controversy over the delivery of a package to former Team Sky rider Bradley Wiggins from his doctor during the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011 continued this week with Brailsford grilled by a British Parliamentary committee.
Brailsford, the principal of Team Sky, told the MPs the package contained Fluimucil, a decongestant.
In a separate development, Ian Drake, British Cycling’s chief executive, has also announced that he will be leaving next year.
Park, who again guided Britain’s sailors to the top of the medal table at the Olympics in Rio, said: “I feel privileged and excited to be given this opportunity, and look forward to building on the high-performance culture at British Cycling.”
Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Ken Ferris