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Australia ends its high-performance MTB program

Australia’s governing body of cycling announced Thursday that it will end its high performance mountain bike cross country program at the end of the year due to a drop in federal government funding.

“This has been a very difficult decision and one that has come after a considerable period of review,” Cycling Australia chief executive Graham Fredericks said in a statement.

“The key reason for this decision is the stretched resources available for our high performance programs.”

Fredericks said CA has had to absorb significant increases in the cost of international travel for competition, athlete training and preparation.

“Federal government funding in 2009 was approximately one million dollars (900,000 U.S.) less than in 2008 and there is no indication this will change in the future,” he added.

“As a result all high performance programs have been stretched to maintain operations at a standard that is capable of continuing to produce medal results in Olympic events.

“Whilst there is no immediate prospect of further additional funding so we’ve had to reassess what we spend and where we spend it.”

Cross-country became an Olympic sport in 1996 and Australia has never won a medal in the event at the Games. The program, however, has launched the careers of many talented cyclists, including current world road champion, Cadel Evans.

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