North West Wales

Sir David Brailsford: London 2012 cycling chief knighted

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Media captionSir David Brailsford, originally from Deiniolen in Gwynedd, was recognised for his services to British cycling and London 2012

The man behind Team GB's cycling glory at London 2012 and the Tour de France has been knighted by the Queen.

Sir David Brailsford, 48, originally from Deiniolen, near Caernarfon in Gwynedd, was recognised for his services to British cycling and the Olympic Games.

He led the likes of Cardiff's Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy to a third successive Olympic medal haul.

He said the honour made him proud.

Sir David's mantra of "marginal gains", which included washing hands, sleeping with the same pillow and using single stripe toothpaste, will all go down in sporting history as the formula that helped Team GB's cyclists win 12 medals at the 2012 London Olympics.

The performance director received the honour from the Queen at Buckingham Palace a day before his 49th birthday and said his success was a team effort.

Image caption Sir David's mantra of 'marginal gains' will make history

He said the Queen wished him a happy birthday and had "a chuckle" when he told her his birthday is a leap year.

He said: "We spoke briefly about the Olympic Games and about what a proud moment it was for the country."

Sir David said there were new challenges ahead, such as aiming for a second Tour de France win and continuing to build Team Sky and the British Olympic team.

He said: "We're looking forward to Rio."

Sir David applauded the success of the new generation of cyclists at the recent World Championships in Minsk, during which Abergavenny cyclist Becky James won four medals, including two golds.

He said: "The sport is not about looking backwards, it's about looking forward."

Fluent Welsh speaker Sir David was born in Derbyshire in 1964, but moved to Deiniolen as a child.

He inherited his love of cycling from his father, who was an alpine mountain guide, and it was the local geography of Elidir Fawr and Holyhead mountain that helped hone his skills.

Sir David left Ysgol Brynrefail, where he was a school friend was former Wales footballer Malcolm Allen, and moved to France to join his father as a professional cyclist.

But after five years he returned to study sports science at Chester which paved the way for his phenomenal coaching success.

According to Barry Hoban, the former Tour de France cyclist from Mochdre, Newtown, Sir David's ruthless and uncompromising nature has been the winning factor in the success of British cycling.

He said: "In all my dealings with him, he's come across as a man who will just not accept failure.

"In my day on the tour, what little British success we had came in spite of the system rather than because of it. In fact, there wasn't any sort of system to speak of.

"What Dave's done is to do all the fiddly behind-the-scenes work of putting the scouts and the coaches and sports psychologists in place, so now there really is no excuse for failure."

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