England draft in cycling guru?
November 20, 2012
Is Matt Parker set to join the England set-up? © Getty Images
Stuart Lancaster has reportedly drafted in sports scientist Matt Parker from British Cycling to work alongside his backroom staff.
Parker was a key figure in Britain's pedalling success at the last two Olympic Games and his work with Bradley Wiggins was integral to this year's Tour de France triumph. Currently the head of marginal gains at British Cycling, Parker is set to lead England's sports science and sports medicine programmes through to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The Rugby Football Union is yet to confirm the appointment but according to reports in the Daily Mail, Parker is in line for the position of head of athletic development which will include overseeing fitness and medical care.
An RFU spokesman confirmed to the newspaper that England are searching for a specialist "of that calibre but nothing has been agreed. This person will play a key role in the development of the England team through to 2015."
Parker initially joined British Cycling as an endurance coach in 2006 and he masterminded Olympic gold for the men's 4,000 metre pursuit team in Beijing. Parker then developed the training programme and weight loss which helped Wiggins switch from the velodrome to the road and finish fourth at the 2009 Tour de France.
Although Parker stopped working directly with Wiggins in 2009 to take up the post as head of marginal gains, his programme laid the foundations for this year's historic Tour de France triumph.
Parker currently leads a team of 15 sports scientists at British Cycling whose focus is on the fractional improvements that can be made in every aspect of performance, covering equipment, training, recovery, diet, lifestyle and psychology.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game