Swiss Cycling have cut back their women's programme for 2016 ©Swiss Cycling

Swiss Cycling have scaled back their women’s programme for 2016 after suffering financial losses, with the cutbacks set to affect the support given to their road riders.

A loss of around CHF 500,000 (£325,000/$491,000/€461,000) in sponsorship has seen the national federation reduce their budget for the forthcoming year, however they claim the programmes for the World Championships and Rio 2016 Olympics will not be affected.

The cutbacks though will see the support and development programmes for elite road riders affected, with training camps and international racing funds reduced from previous years.

Additionally their women’s national team coach Christian Rocha, who was appointed to the post in 2011 to strengthen the elite women’s programme, has also left his post as a consequence of the financial losses.

“Women's road cycling is not like that of men’s, [which is] over a sufficiently large base with privately funded teams," Rocha told after his departure.

"[It's] not elsewhere and certainly not in Switzerland.

"Leading organisations in women's road cycling have recognised this, including those in the Netherlands, Italy, France, the US and Germany.

“They have programmes that are not primarily aimed at the support of top riders, but the strengthening of the central structure, they should have given us another four years."

Women's mountain biking is set to be safe from the cutbacks with Jolanda Neff having claimed European Games and World Cup victories
Women's mountain biking is set to be safe from the cutbacks with Jolanda Neff having claimed European Games and World Cup victories ©Getty Images

The performance of the women’s programme is seen as one of the reasons for the federation cutting support, with the men deemed to have performed at a better level despite receiving less promotion.

However, Jolanda Neff delivered gold in mountain biking at the 2015 European Games in Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku, while also claiming the International Cycling Union (UCI) Mountain Bike World Cup for the second successive year.

As a result women’s mountain biking is set to be safe from the cutbacks, as well as specific youth level programmes for road and mountain biking.

A UCI statement responding to the Swiss decision said: “Under Brian Cookson’s leadership, the UCI has achieved a great deal for women’s cycling.

“We continue working with all stakeholders to ensure the sport has a more professional and stable future.

“As part of the progress being made, we are very much looking forward to the launch of the UCI Women’s WorldTour in March next year.”

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