British Cycling today announced the formation of an independent review to look into recent allegations of sexism in its performance programs. The announcement follows allegations from former riders Jess Varnish, Nicole Cooke and Victoria Pendleton that sexism is rife within the federation.
"We are fully committed to the principles and active promotion of equality of opportunity and we must take any such allegations seriously," British Cycling stated in today's announcement. "The terms of the review will be announced in due course and no further comment will be made at this stage."
Varnish, a track sprinter who was dropped from Britain's Olympic program following the World Championships in London, claimed in a recent interview with the Daily Mail that technical director Shane Sutton told her she was "too old" and that she should "move on and go and have a baby".
In the interview with the Daily Mail, the 25-year-old rider described the fall-out surrounding her contract not being renewed and also criticised the culture at British Cycling, saying she has "a list as long as my arm about comments I've had about my figure".
British Cycling has denied that the rider's contract was not renewed because she spoke out over the management of the track programme during the World Championships in March, and they also denied that Sutton made the remark about having a baby.
Varnish's allegations were backed on Monday, however, when former riders Cooke and Pendleton also said they experienced sexism within the program. Pendleton, who retired after the 2012 Olympics, defended her former team pursuit teammate in an emotional interview with The Telegraph's Tom Carey. Writing for The Guardian, Cooke said there was "sexism by design" within British Cycling.
In today's announcement, British Cycling said the review would take place in conjunction with UK Sport.