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Significant funding boost for Scottish cycling

In other news from Great Britain, Scottish cycling has received an almost 100 percent year-on-year increase in funding for 2005, with 242,860 pounds (approx. €347,474/ US$467,263) per year for the next four years aimed at radical improvement of the sport from grassroots to the elite level, reports The Scotsman.

National coach Graeme Herd believes the funding boost, confirmed by Sportscotland, can be largely attributed to the recent success of Scottish track riders on the world scene. In particular, current Olympic and world champion Chris Hoy, but also a small but growing group of athletes that are now making their mark in international-level competition, who are successful by-products of the country's regional and national academies of sport.

"The increase is a reflection of the success at the top end, especially Chris Hoy's gold medal in Athens, but it's also because athletes like Evan Oliphant and Kate Cullen are now achieving internationally," said Herd. "They are products of the programmes we started four or five years ago. There are others coming through, and the regional academies will hopefully ensure that young riders continue to emerge."

The four-year plan includes the establishment of seven regional cycling academies, to be launched next month, as well as the appointment of a new performance coordinator to work alongside Herd at the Scottish Institute of Sport, tipped to be filled by British mountain bike coach and former Commonwealth Games cyclist Neil Walker.

Added Herd: "The employment of a performance co-ordinator will allow me to focus more on developing coaching programmes for athletes and coaches."

Currently, only Hoy and fellow Kilo rider Craig MacLean are full members of the Scottish Institute of Sport, but the funding is hoped to introduce more talented riders as members, as well as become one of the academy's core sports.

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