sport

Britain sign new sprint coach

British Cycling have bolstered their coaching ranks ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games by recruiting respected sprint specialist Justin Grace from the French Cycling Federation.

Grace, who is from New Zealand, had been with the French squad for a year and was a key figure behind Francois Pervis's three gold medals at this year's world championships, but was replaced as their sprint coach in June.

He will now be tasked with helping to return Great Britain to the top of world sprinting following a dip in results since London 2012.

Triple Olympic champion Jason Kenny and the men's team sprint trio have struggled for form over the past two years, and while Becky James won two world titles in 2013, Britain's women have not yet consistently filled the hole left by Victoria Pendleton.

British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton said: "At this stage of the Olympic cycle, we are looking to bolster the staffing team and I believe that to have someone of Justin's calibre and expertise will enhance our medal prospects for Rio.

"Justin has been on both sides of track sprint. He has enjoyed success as an athlete and he has coached sprinters to Olympic medals and world titles, and I think he will be a valuable asset to the Great Britain Cycling Team."

Grace is a former track sprinter who won 13 national titles and represented New Zealand at the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Prior to joining the French coaching set-up, he spent five years revolutionising New Zealand's sprint programme and helped the team win a series of world and Olympic medals.

"It's an exciting time to be joining the Great Britain Cycling Team," Grace said. "They have an established reputation of being the team to beat when it comes to the Olympics and I'm looking forward to contributing to their future successes."

Grace will start his role with British Cycling on September 1 and join current sprint coaches Iain Dyer and Jan van Eijden.