Cycling NZ high performance boss resigns

Cycling New Zealand's high performance boss Mark Elliott has resigned from his job in the organisation.

Mark Elliott. Photo: ODT files
Mark Elliott. Photo: ODT files

Elliott has been in the role nine years, which included the centralising of cycling at Cambridge's Avantidrome.

"It is something I have been thinking about for some time," said Elliott. "Our performances across the board at the Olympics were below target and while this has been a difficult decision, it would have been easy to do straight after Rio.

"However, that was not the right time to step away from the programme I've led for nine years. I wanted to ensure the momentum of the programme and to oversee the detailed review of all aspects of the campaign that has now been submitted to High Performance Sport New Zealand."

Elliott said during the debrief process over the Rio Games that it became apparent the  time was right for someone to take over leading the programme to Tokyo.

In the time Elliott has led the high performance programme, New Zealand has won eight world championship titles on the track and road, set-up a pathway partnerships for young riders, a high performance programme for BMX, key support for world champion mountain bikers and most recently the establishment of the Regional Performance Hub development programme.

New Zealand won 10 world championship track medals in nearly 30 years until 2007 and 31 medals in the ensuing eight years under Elliott's leadership. There were 17 junior world track medals in 30 years to 2007 but 56 medals since; six medals in three Olympics to Rio compared with three over three decades to 2004.

Elliott said while saddened to leave, he was nonetheless proud of the achievements and believed he left  with the sport boasting a richness of talent at both elite and development levels, with high quality coaches and support staff.

Cycling New Zealand chief executive Andrew Matheson praised Elliott for his contribution to the sport.

"Mark has been the guiding hand for establishing a world-class high performance programme which he has achieved virtually single-handed.

"He has a unique knowledge of high performance sport as a former athlete, coach, medical professional and administrator. I am sure he will be an asset where ever he turns in the future, and hope he is not lost to sport in this country.

Matheson, a former high performance director at Rowing New Zealand and Rowing Australia, said he was likely to step in to the high performance role in the short term as the organisation and HPSNZ fully evaluated the Rio debrief and determined the role of a suitable replacement early next year.

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