British Cycling upholds allegations of sexism against Shane Sutton

Board finds Sutton used 'inapproriate and discriminatory language'

British Cycling has upheld the allegations of sexism track rider Jess Varnish made against former technical director Shane Sutton, following an internal investigation.

After she was dropped from British Cycling's Olympic programme, Varnish spoke out saying that Sutton had told her that she should "move on and go and have a baby."

Sutton was suspended by the organisation three days later and subsequently resigned from his position as technical director.

"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," the statement read.

"The board wishes to put on record its sincere regret that this happened. The findings of the investigation will help the development of the organisation alongside the independent review into the culture of the World Class Programme, jointly commissioned by British Cycling and UK Sport, and led by Annamarie Phelps."

The findings of the internal investigation has been given to the independent review panel, which will release its findings in due course.

The fallling out between Varnish and British Cycling came to a head after Britain failed to qualify a women's sprint team for the Olympic Games in Rio. Varnish was extremely outspoken against the setup, saying that decisions had been made above their heads that impacted their qualification run.

The following month, news broke that Varnish's contract with the organisation had not been renewed just months before the Games were due to take place. British Cycling said that the decision had been made on performance grounds, although Varnish claimed that they had not let her see her data.

A few days later, Varnish claimed that she had been the victim of sexism while at British Cycling, stating that technical director Shane Sutton told her she was "too old" and that she should "move on and go and have a baby."

Her comments were later backed up by former professionals Victoria Pendleton and Nicole Cooke, who cited similar experiences. Other's stood up for Sutton, including Laura Trott and Chris Boardman, who said that Sutton was the victim of a 'lynch mob'.

British Cycling initially denied the accusations, saying that Sutton had acted with 'complete professionalism'. However, under growing pressure, they chose to suspend Sutton and launch an investigation into Varnish's claims. The Australian chose to step down from his position a day later.

The investigation was led by British Paralympic Association vice-chair Annamarie Phelps, who was supported by UK Sport CEO Liz Nicholl and Marian Lauder. Former British Cycling president Tony Doyle recently criticised the decision to have an all-female panel.

Further allegations were made in light of Varnish's comments, including one claim that Sutton had called paracyclists 'wobblies' and that he had referred to another rider as a "dirty terrorist" when he turned up to the track with a beard.

Earlier this month, British Cycling launched their search for a new performance director. Despite the mounting allegations, Sutton remained hopeful that the panel would clear him and he would be able to return to his former post.

It has been a tumultuous season for British Cycling, with revelations surrounding riders Simon Yates, Lizzie Deignan and Bradley Wiggins engulfing them. They are currently under investigation by UKAD with regards to a 'mystery medical package' sent from British Cycling to Team Sky at the end of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.

CEO Ian Drake has also confirmed that he will leave after almost 20 years next April.

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