Cycling New Zealand hit by further resignations after integrity breach at Tokyo Olympics

New Zealand riders at speed
New Zealand riders on the track (Image credit: Getty Images)

Cycling New Zealand's High Performance Director Martin Barras has resigned after confirmation of an "integrity breach" during the Tokyo Olympics.

An independent investigation into Cycling New Zealand's handling of athlete selection for the 2020 Olympics uncovered the breach of both Olympic and international cycling regulations. The investigation revealed that the process to replace an athlete during a cycling event in Tokyo had not respected IOC and UCI rules.

Reserves are allowed to be taken to the Olympic Games and line-ups can be changed in different rounds of certain events but once teams submit their starting line-up, changes can only be made in case of injury or illness.

Campbell Stewart won silver in the Omnium after Aaron Gate was ruled out following a crash in the team pursuit ride for the bronze medal against Australia. The New Zealand Olympic Committee confirmed to the news outlet Stuff that the breach did not relate to any medal-winning performances.

Reports in New Zealand suggest sprint coach Rene Wolff will also leave and return to Europe for a similar role.  Jacques Landry, the Chief Executive of Cycling New Zealand, has also resigned after three years in the job. Other key figures have also left.

The resignations come during an on-going independent inquiry into the sport and three months after the suspected suicide of Olivia Podmore. She had qualified for the Olympic Games but was not selected and did not compete in Tokyo.  

Barras joined Cycling New Zealand in 2018 following a lengthy spell as a senior track coach with Cycling Australia. Cycling New Zealand has appointed Amy Taylor as interim High Performance Director. 

"Cycling New Zealand has taken swift action following a breach of its Code of Conduct at the Tokyo Olympics," Landry said in a statement.

Landry said that while Barras was not directly involved in the incident, as Director he was ultimately responsible for the conduct of the New Zealand Cycling Team at the Olympic Games.

"He has therefore tendered his resignation, which I have accepted," Landry said.

Cycling New Zealand is providing support to the athletes involved because the incident risks being made public.

"Out of respect for the participants who took part in the investigation under conditions of confidentiality, no-one at Cycling New Zealand is able to make any further comment on the matter," Landry said.

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