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Outgoing boss backs cycling after Rio

AAP logoAAP 19/09/2016

Outgoing Cycling Australia performance boss Kevin Tabotta has made a fierce defence of the program, despite the lack of medals at the Rio Olympics.

Tabotta has announced his resignation, ending an 11-year spell in the role.

He said the decision was made before Rio, where Australian cycling performed well below expectations with only a silver and a bronze.

Tabotta told AAP Cycling Australia's high performance program deserved ongoing government and corporate support, saying Rio showed the sport was agonisingly close to success.

"Now, on the medal table, it doesn't look good and that's pretty clear .... we haven't hit the markers," he said.

"But was it an absolute failure of performance? Well, no, because if you look underneath that medal table, you'll just say we're painfully close to hitting our marks.

"Not to make excuses, but we had a bit of rough run coming in and there are a few 'ifs'."

Tabotta said while Great Britain continued to set the standard at the Olympics - especially in track cycling - Australia went close to several minor medals that would have made their overall result look healthier.

He also noted that Australian cycling should be judged on more than Rio, with ongoing international success across track, road and BMX.

"I don't think the AIS is going to lose faith in Australian cycling over one competition.

"If it does, it makes a mockery of Australian Winning Edge strategy."

Tabotta is now on leave and will end his tenure on November 4.

He will take up another job in elite sport, but said it is too soon to say what that will be.

Tabotta decided long ago that 2016 would be his Cycling Australia swan song.

He has been with the organisation in a succession of roles since 1995.

"By the time I got to 2014, it was pretty clear to me that I was going to do one big push through to 2016," he said.

"I would have made this decision, no matter what, post-Rio, win, lose or draw.

"No question, I leave with a touch of sadness.

"But I'm pretty philosophical about the whole thing."

His resignation is the first big development for Cycling Australia as they continue their post-Rio review and more changes appear inevitable.

There were realistic expectations that Australia and other nations would break the British stranglehold on cycling at the Olympics.

Instead, Great Britain dominated the sport for the third-straight Games with six golds.

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