British Cycling announced today that it has suspended technical director Shane Sutton "pending an internal investigation" following allegations the Australian called Paralympic cyclists "gimps" and "wobblies". Sutton has also come under fire this week with former track riders Jess Varnish, Nicole Cooke and Victoria Pendleton alleging that sexism is rife within British Cycling.
Earlier today, British Cycling announced an independent review following the sexism allegations.
- British Cycling announces independent review following sexism allegations
- Pendleton and Cooke claim British Cycling is rife with sexism
- Varnish: I no longer trust British Cycling
- Jess Varnish makes sexism allegations against Shane Sutton
In an interview with The Daily Mail, six-time Paralympic Games gold medallist Darren Kenny explained he overheard the alleged comments from Sutton.
"The attitude towards them was abysmal. We were tolerated at best," Kenny said. "The term used to refer to us was generally "gimps", with another word in front of that. I know others had an issue as well with not being allowed on the track and not being given time to prepare for competitions.
"I don't think we were ever considered to be elite athletes, in all honesty, by certain people and since I've left I've not seen or heard of any change towards equality."
According to an anonymous source "who worked closely with Sutton" in the same The Daily Mail article, the technical director allegedly used derogatory terms in reference to the para-cyclists.
"They were referred to as wobblies. It was an in-joke used to describe para-cyclists but it's not politically correct, clearly. I think that they did know about it," said the source.
The British newspaper also quotes a second anonymous source, "a former British Cycling staff member", who described Sutton's reaction to an incident involving involving para and able body cyclists during a training session.
"One day the Paralympic squad were on the track and I think somebody had wobbled," said the source. "They'd gone a bit close and one of the male (able-bodied) sprinters had got a bit tetchy and started having a go at Shane and he then in turn came flying into the office saying, "Get those f****** gimps off the track".
While British Cycling had earlier announced its independent review into allegations of sexism, The Guardian reports a second "a second independent investigation that will focus firmly on Sutton's conduct".