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Mountain bikers call for funding
By Roger Vaughan
01:58 AEST Mon Aug 13 2012

Show us the money. Any money.

That's the plea from Australia's top cross-country mountain bikers to their national federation and the Australian Institute of Sport after the London Olympics.

Dan McConnell finished an encouraging 21st, improving on his 39th at the Beijing Games, and his partner Rebecca Henderson was 25th in her Olympic debut.

Mountain biking is the poor cousin of the high-powered Australian Olympic cycling program.

It is the only discipline in the sport where Australia has not won an Olympic medal.

For the last three years, mountain biking has been outside the AIS because of a funding squeeze.

But McConnell more than halved his world ranking this year on the way to the Games and Henderson finished second in the under-23 World Cup series.

"This year me and Bec have pretty much just done it ourselves and we've been able to show that we can get some good results," McConnell said.

"It does show that there is the talent out there and the more help we can get, I think we can move up the nation rankings."

McConnell argues that any significant investment into the mountain bikers would represent good value for money.

"In the road and track ... you can see that all the nations have put in a fair bit of time, money and effort in there - they've got their results and pegged us back a fair bit," he said.

"For the mountain bike, we've had to do it hard ... we haven't had any AIS program or much national support.

"If we can get a bit of a program going again, similar to the track, there's definitely enough depth out there with the kids coming through.

"We could definitely get a fairly high ranking as a country."

Czech world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy won the men's gold medal after a pulsating duel with Swiss Nino Schurter (silver) and Italian Marco Fontana (bronze).

New French star Julie Bressett won the women's race ahead of German Sabine Spitz and American Georgia Gould, who was third.

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