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April 4/09 9:43 am - Dan Proulx Interview

Posted by Editor on 04/4/09

The Canadian Cycling Association announced this week that BC-based Dan Proulx has been appointed the new national mountain bike coach for the Canadian team.  Proulx is a Level 4 NCCP coach with a Diploma in High Performance Sport from the National Coaching Institute in Calgary, where he founded the Olympic Oval National Cycling Center Junior Program.

For the past six years, Dan has worked with mountain bike pro Catharine Pendrel, who recently won the 2009 Pan American Mountain Bike Championships, as well as finishing fourth at the Beijing Games and second overall in the 2008 World Cup.

Proulx was also the Canadian Team Manager for all cycling disciplines at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and was the personal coach to two athletes (Pendrel and road rider Alex Wrubleski) on the Olympic team.  In 2009, he was the Team Manager for the Cyclocross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.  Recently, Dan was awarded a GM Making Dreams Possible High Performance Coaching Grant for his work with Pendrel.

We spoke with Dan yesterday from his home, where he is preparing to make the transition to national team coach.

Canadian Cyclist:  First of all, congratulations!  When do you actually start the new job?

Dan Proulx:  Thanks.  Over the next two weeks I will gradually be transitioning from my position here at Cycling BC, making sure that the programs I am involved in are handed off to the right people.  The first actual thing I will be doing [as national coach] will be going to Sea Otter, and then Offenburg [Germany, April 25-26 for the World Cup].

CC:  So not South Africa for the World Cup opener?

DP:  No.  We offered it to the athletes, but the riders who would have used our support are not going.  Geoff [Kabush] will be there, but he has his pro team support.  So, instead, we will be focussing on providing a good support system for the World Cup campaign in Europe.

CC:  What are some of the first things you will be doing when you take on this role; what do you want to accomplish?

DP:  Basically, I will be doing a lot of talking to key stakeholders in mountain biking.  I want to open the lines of communication with the athletes and the teams so that we can build a collaborative environment.  We want to pursue excellence by empowering the athletes and the teams.

The CCA's role is to support the athletes, and to make sure that the next generation of riders below the current [top level] are ready to step up when we need them.  The race program for the year has been pretty much mapped out before I started, but after the Nationals we will be running a camp [at Mont Ste Anne] to train on the 2010 [Worlds] course, to start to prepare the riders.

I am also going to try and take a number of the up and comers to the last World Cup [in Europe] so that they can get an idea of what to expect at that level.  I also want to work with the provinces on talent identification, so there will be some development as well as high performance.

CC:  What do you see as your role, as National Team Coach?

DP:  Traditionally, people thought that national team coaches coached the entire team.  But that has changed; our personal coaches are one of our greatest resources.  So, I want an open channel to the national team program, to make sure that the athletes have the best environment possible, and support the coaches that are already doing a fantastic job.

There is a huge management role in this position; I don't just focus on a small group of athletes, but think of the system globally.  If everyone pools their talents, we could have the best program in the world.


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