Cycling-Australia federation apologises for bike failure at Tokyo Games

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's cycling federation has apologised to its Olympic team for a snapped handlebar at the Tokyo Games that left rider Alex Porter with facial injuries and cost a potential gold medal.

The bike failure during the team pursuit qualifying sent Porter crashing face-first into the velodrome and later triggered a review.

"We apologise to Alex and his fellow riders, to the broader Australian Olympic team and to the Australian public, all of whom were entitled to expect better," AusCycling Chief Executive Marne Fechner said in a statement on Thursday.

"The (review) recommendations are very clear, in that there's a complete overhaul required in how we go about our business."

An assessment by mechanical and aeronautical engineer John Baker said the custom-built handlebars did not meet specification and had not had adequate "fatigue testing".

"The report found that a lack of adequate processes and policies meant that the issues weren't detected and rectified before the team raced at the Games," AusCycling said.

Though Australia rallied to take bronze in the team pursuit, the snapped handlebar was the low point of a poor Olympics for a country that lavishes funding on track cycling and once prided itself on the strength of its programme.

Australia's sole bronze medal at Tokyo was the team's worst performance on the Olympic velodrome since the 1980 Moscow Games.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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