Speed-driven Aussie cycling given funding lifeline

Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:02am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Cash-strapped national governing body Cycling Australia has had a board shake-out and received a A$2 million (US$1.81 million) lifeline to keep its Olympic programme on track after battling back from virtual insolvency.

Former International Cricket Council boss Malcolm Speed will replace outgoing president Gerry Ryan and lead a new board of bankers and business people as the sport completes a governance review and tries to generate more revenue to close the gap on big-spending cycling powers like Britain.

Ryan, owner of pro cycling team Orica-Greenedge, steps down after less than a year in charge but will remain as a director and help the administration appoint a new CEO in coming months.

Australian cycling has undergone a period of soul-searching in recent years, with the exposure of Lance Armstrong as a drug cheat leading to Australian duo Matt White and Stephen Hodge quitting their posts after admitting to doping during their cycling careers.

A long-time investor in the sport, Ryan said CA had also battled a financial crisis, as sponsorship revenue failed to materialise and a venture into events management turned sour.

"If it was a private business it wouldn’t be operating," he told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.

"What we had to do was unfold the events business, it was a joint partnership and we had to move on some of the personnel and scale back.

"We have a small events business now which is profitable. Basically, they grew a little bit faster than the revenue that was coming in.   Continued...