By Duncan Mackay

Shaun Stephens head and shouldersNovember 14 - Team Sky have recruited Shaun Stephens, Australia's triathlon coach at London 2012, as its new performance coach for next season, they announced today. 

Stephens, 37, was the triathlon head coach at the Australian Sports Commission and been involved in the programme since 1998, a period during which the country has won more medals at the Olympics in the sport than any other country.

Stephens had worked as a coach at Athens in 2004, assistant coach at Beijing 2008 and head coach at London 2012.

He had also been the triathlon team manager at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the coach at Melbourne four years later.

But after being recruited by Team Sky's general manager David Brailsford, Stephens will work full-time alongside the squad's head of performance Tim Kerrison.

Bradley Wiggins montage from Tour de France July 22 2012Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome dominated the 2012 Tour de France, finishing first and second

Sky had a brilliant 2012, with two of their riders, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome finishing first and second respectively in the Tour de France, with Wiggins's victory seeing him become the first British winner of cycling's most famous race.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to work as part of the Team Sky programme," said Stephens.

"I have watched their outstanding performances with interest over the last three years and have been impressed by how they have assembled their team and introduced innovative performance strategies to cycling.

"I'm looking forward to contributing to the team and bringing in new ideas through my sport science and coaching knowledge of triathlon.

"I believe it is Dave Brailsford's vision of introducing a diversity of skill sets...that has given Team Sky a competitive advantage over other teams.

"I look forward to the challenges of understanding the intricacies of a new sport and assisting Team Sky build upon the enormous success they have already achieved."

Brailsford is hoping that Stephens can help Team Sky maintain their position as the sport's dominant force next year, something he helped Australia achieve in triathlon.

Erin Densham with Olympic bronze medal August 4 2012Erin Densham's bronze medal at London 2012 ensured Australia maintained its record of winning a triathlon at every Olympics since the sport was introduced in 2000

Australia is only country to have a podium finisher in all four Olympic Games since the sport made its debut on the programme at Sydney in 2000, including at London where Erin Densham won the bronze medal in the women's race.

"Shaun's appointment continues Team Sky's commitment to assembling the very best coaching and support staff in the world, without being afraid to look beyond the arena of cycling," said Brailsford.

"It is incredibly exciting to be bringing fresh expertise into the sport, and further reinforces this team's desire to break new ground in the field of performance.

"The team has taken tremendous strides since the appointment of Tim Kerrison, who came from swimming, and we hope that with Shaun on board we can maintain our position as the world's number one cycling team."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]