Former Norwegian national champion Gabriel Rasch will retire after the 2014 Classics campaign and become a sports director at Team Sky, the team have confirmed.
Rasch, 37, joined Sky from FDJ last year and performed a key role both on and off the bike, including helping Chris Froome to Tour of Romandie victory and supporting Edvald Boasson Hagen’s successful Tour of Norway defence.
Rasch – nicknamed Gabba – has also mentored several of Team Sky’s younger riders and is delighted to have the opportunity to take on his new backroom role, which he will start full-time after Paris-Roubaix.
He said: “I’d always hoped to become a sports director once my riding days had come to a close and this is a big chance for me to do what I’d love to do with a team that I love.
“It’s great that Team Sky give riders like me a chance to develop and I’d like to thank Sir Dave Brailsford and the management for all their support. I’m looking forward to repaying their trust in me.
“I have good relationships with my team-mates, management and the coaching staff and I’m sure they’ll help make my move to a sports director as smooth as possible.
“No-one ever wants to stop riding but this is the right time and the right opportunity to pass on some of my experience.”
Rod Ellingworth, who has worked behind-the-scenes at Sky since their 2010 inception and was moved to the role of performance manager this year, believes Rasch will be a perfect fit as sports director.
He said: “We recognised early on that Gabba had a lot of the qualities that we look for in a sports director.
“He has an excellent work ethic, great cycling experience, and a calm and considered approach. He knows exactly how the team works and we know he’ll do an excellent job for us.
“Gabba will join the DS team fresh from the bike which will make all the difference and will help him settle in quickly.
“This is an opportunity for him to pass on the huge amount of racing knowledge that he has accumulated over the years and pass it on to the younger riders – which I know he will relish.”
Ellingworth added: “There’s still a bit racing left in Gabba and we’ll continue to support his ambitions to race in the Classics next year.
“Then he’ll take on the sports director role full time. He’s going to be a great addition to the DS team and we’re all looking forward to working with him in the 2014 season.”