The fallout of Shane Sutton’s resignation from his role as technical director at British Cycling has continued with further allegations of discrimination. While several riders have spoken of a ‘culture of fear’, Olympic gold medallists such as Sir Chris Hoy and Geraint Thomas have offered their public support.
In a week to forget for British Cycling, allegations of sexism gathered speed with Jess Varnish, Nicole Cooke and Victoria Pendleton all speaking out about the pervading culture within the governing body. British Cycling announced an independent review into the claims before confirming Sutton’s suspension from his role.
Sutton then resigned from his post on Wednesday with riders speaking out both in favour and against the Australian.
On Thursday, three riders in the current squad told The Guardian that Sutton called “women ‘bitches’ and ‘sheilas’ and once referred to a non-white rider as a “dirty terrorist” when he turned up to a race with stubble.” The Guardian also suggests complaints regarding Sutton extend to 2007.
One of the riders told the British newspaper they wished to remain anonymous “for fear of losing out on selection for the Rio Olympics”. The riders also suggested there was support for Sutton “only because they were terrified of not being selected for the Olympics.”
Malaysian track cyclist Josiah Ng added to the claims against Sutton, describing his interactions could have been interpreted as racist, but decided instead “to shrug it off”.
"I'd say 'hey Sutto' and he'd say 'hey Boatie, how you going?'. Just like that. Never in a negative context, but I don't know if he was aware it was derogatory,” Ng told the Press Association Sport.
"It was always said in jest. That's who he is. He's old school that way. I don't think he's racist. His actions are racists, but I personally don't think he's racist”
Sutton has been backed by several riders, both current and retired, who worked him at British Cycling. Hoy released a statement on his personal website that read;
“I do want to pay tribute to Shane. I have never met anyone who gave so much to their role within any team and who cared so much for the performance of the riders. Shane expected 100 per cent commitment from every member of the team regardless of their role and he led by example in that respect.
“As a coach, his uncompromising approach yielded unparalleled results for the GB team and his contribution to my career and the entire British Cycling success story was outstanding. For this, I would like to sincerely thank him.”
Sutton has denied the allegations of discrimination during his time with British Cycling.
“I reject the specific claims that have been made against me in recent days and I look forward to taking a full part in the review process so I can respond to the allegations in detail,” he said in a statement.
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