New Zealand Cycling Coach Fears Budget Cuts Will Hurt Program Performance
The coach of New Zealand's successful sprint cycling program fears that New Zealand "will lose ground quickly" unless it finds the money to send more riders to Europe, according to Dana Johannsen of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Justin Grace, who is in charge of the men's sprint team, said that "financial pressures were jeopardising BikeNZ's high performance programme, with the national body having to make cutbacks in response to increased competition costs." BikeNZ "is having to prioritise its programmes this year" after overspending NZ$251,000 ($207,000) in the high performance budget last year. The national body "could afford to send a team of only five to the track cycling world championships in Belarus this month, with the women's and endurance teams missing out on the event." BikeNZ received NZ$15.6M ($12.8M) from High Performance New Zealand in the latest round of funding, up NZ$300,000 ($247,000) from the previous four-year cycle. However, "it faces a couple of expensive campaigns over the next 18 months, with next year's world champs in Colombia, and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games shortly after." Bike NZ CEO Kieran Turner said that it was likely the organziation "would have to focus more on development than campaigning over the next two years." Turner said, "We're just going through that process now on looking at what we prioritize" (NZ HERALD, 3/5).