It was with sadness we learnt of the passing of one of the worlds best cycling coaches, Heiko Salzwedel. German media reported that he had died in Berlin on Wednesday at the age of 64.
Heiko Salzwedel was born in the old East Germany in 1957.
He set up the Australian Institute of Sport Road Cycling/MTB programme in 1990, producing many top riders; Robbie McEwen, Cadel Evans, Patrick Jonker, Henk Vogels, Matt White and Kathy Watt all came through the institute system. In 1996 he creating the first UCI registered Australian professional team: the GIANT-Australian Institute of Sport Cycling Team, which later became ZVVZ-GIANT-AIS.
In 1998, he returned to Europe as Performance Director of the German Cycling Federation, before moving to British Cycling in 2000, becoming the Performance Manager in 2001. From 2003 he was a consultant to the Danish Cycling Federation. His company, SL-sports, also worked with the UCI, Speed Skating Canada, Swiss Triathlon, Equipe Nuernberger, SRM and the T-Mobile Cycling Team. Salzwedel directed the T-Mobile Development Programme, which included Mark Cavendish, Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Stefan Denifl.
In 2005, he was appointed as Denmark’s National Track Cycling Coach. Within 3 years the Danish team pursuit squad went from 10th place at the 2006 World Championships in Bordeaux to Olympic Silver at the Beijing Olympics. In the semifinals the team recorded a time of 3:56.831, the 2nd fastest time in the world at that time. In late 2008, he returned to British Cycling as Performance Manager.
In 2012 he founded the Russian RusVelo professional cycling team. In October 2014 Salzwedel rejoined British Cycling for the third time, with responsibility for the men’s endurance programme. In this role he coached Bradley Wiggins in his successful bid to break the world hour record in June 2015, and coached the team pursuit squad to a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. In January 2018 British Cycling confirmed that he had left his role, since then, Salzwedel had been working with the Brandenburg Cycling Association.
World pursuit champion, Colin Sturgess:
- “Rest in peace Heiko Salzwedel. One of the true icons of sports coaching and a great cycling fan. I got to know him via competing against his East German athletes at Olympics, Worlds etc and he always had a quick smile for me. After the finals at the 88 Olympics I rode over to congratulate Dittert and him, and he seemed genuinely concerned that I was ok with 4th! After I won the worlds the next year he said to me that although my pursuiting style was unorthodox it was incredibly unsettling as no one could plan as to what I was going to do… “never change” he said. Many years later when we both lived in Australia we caught up and relived those memories and more.
There won’t have been many coaches and people to have influenced cycling so profoundly.
The photo below was taken six years ago; I’d been through hell and was slowly coming out the other side – he knew I’d been in a dark place and his compassion was touching.
Vale mate. X”
Everyone at PezCyclingNews send their condolences to his wife and two children, and his many friend through out the world of cycling.