The TT Cycling Federation (TTCF) has confirmed the impending exit of national elite cycling coach Erin Hartwell, and described it as "a huge loss."
The announcement was made in a press release on Friday by TTCF PRO Roxanne Chapman, on behalf of president Joseph Roberts.
The federation’s statement comes on the heels of Hartwell asking the Sport Company and being granted leave to pursue other opportunities.
In Roberts’ statement, he said long-standing mechanic and certified coach, Elisha Greene, will serve as the team’s interim coach for this weekend’s penultimate Olympic qualifier event, UCI World Cup in Milton, Canada.
“The departure of coach Erin Hartwell is a very unfortunate development, especially coming at this time. Erin has been at the centre of our high performance cycling development programme, and has had tremendous impact on TT cycling – his record speaks for itself,” Roberts said.
In May 2010, Hartwell was hired as national coach but had his contract terminated six months later under the then Minister of Sport Anil Roberts and TTCF president Robert Farrier. He was then rehired as the new technical director of cycling in September 2017, on a three-year contract.
Roberts also said the fraternity sees no point “dwelling on the past or in pointing fingers.”
“Our goals and objectives remain unchanged – the development of cycling – and our immediate challenge is to provide our national cycling team with the best possible support we can in the quest for Olympic qualification…Notwithstanding the events of the past few days, the TTCF has remained focused on the team and has sought to ensure the best preparation of the athletes."
After acknowledging Hartwell’s incomparable contribution to development of the sport, Roberts and his executive plans to meet with the TT Olympic Committee, SporTT and other relevant stakeholders and authorities within the coming days “to get cycling back on track.”
Joining Greene in Milton are Nicholas Paul, Kwesi Browne, Quincy Alexander (cyclists), David Francis (manager) and Derek Ashby (physio). According to the statement, “If necessary, the team would procure the services of another mechanic.”