British Cycling inquiry confirms sexism allegations

Following internal investigation, British Cycling confirms that former technical director Shane Sutton made sexist remarks to athlete.

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LONDON (AFP) — Former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton had a complaint against him that he aimed “inappropriate and discriminatory language” at cyclist Jess Varnish upheld on Friday, the national governing body announced.

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The 59-year-old Australian — a key figure in the success of British cyclists at both the Beijing and London Olympics — contested the allegations made by Varnish although he did step down from his role 100 days before the Rio Olympics.

Varnish, a former world and European Championship medalist, claimed Sutton had told her to “go and have a baby” after her contract was not renewed.

“Following an internal investigation, the British Cycling board has upheld an allegation made by Jess Varnish that former technical director Shane Sutton had used inappropriate and discriminatory language,” read a statement from British Cycling.

“The board wishes to put on record its sincere regret that this happened.”

Their findings have been passed on to the members of an independent review into the culture of British Cycling, commissioned by the national governing body and elite sport funding body, UK Sport.

Friday’s decision couldn’t have come at a worse time for British cycling.

The country’s hugely successful Rio Games have been tarnished by leaked medical records showing star Bradley Wiggins obtained therapeutic use exemption (TUE) from cycling authorities for the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone for his asthma prior to three major road races, including the 2012 Tour de France which he won. To cap off the tumultuous season, British Cycling CEO Ian Drake resigned from his post in mid-October.

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