Shane Sutton: British Cycling investigation had no proof

British Cycling’s Shane Sutton before the London Track Worlds

British Cycling’s Shane Sutton before the London Track Worlds

Shane Sutton has protested his innocence after being found to have used discriminatory language against Jess Varnish, questioning how the British Cycling investigation could have reached its conclusion with "no proof".

The governing body on Friday upheld track sprinter Varnish's allegations that Sutton, the technical director, had used sexist language, telling her to "move on and go and have a baby" after she was dropped from the Olympic Programme.

"I'm adamant that I am innocent," Sutton told the Sunday Telegraph. "I have definitely never overstepped the mark with Jess Varnish or any other athlete."

Sutton was suspended by British Cycling when the allegations surfaced in April, and subsequently resigned from his position. He has maintained his innocence throughout the six-month internal investigation, and has now asked to see the supporting evidence from it.

"I'm massively disappointed. I put my trust in [the investigation]. I have gone back to them now and asked for the supporting evidence to try to understand how they have arrived at this conclusion," he said.

"I'm totally adamant that no conversations took place of that nature and that's why I've asked for the supporting evidence. As far as I'm concerned there were two people in this conversation. So where is the evidence that this conversation, these comments took place? There is no proof.

"We have already seen during this process that people have come out with falsehoods, certain allegations made, for instance regarding data that was allegedly not released, meetings that didn't happen. One party in all of this has been proved to have told untruths and that party wasn't me."

Sutton, who had hoped to be cleared and be able to return to his post, downplayed the possibility of a legal challenge to the verdict, and acknowledged that there is now "no way back" for him at British Cycling.

The 59-year-old has been at the organisation since 2002, joining as a coach and forming part of the set-up that brought home 14 gold across the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. He stepped up to the role of technical director in 2014 following Dave Brailsford's move to concentrate squarely on Team Sky.

"It's just a shame it has ended like this but it has been a fantastic journey, there have been fantastic people who I have worked with, some incredible athletes," said Sutton. "All of them. The Hoys, the Wiggins, the Cavendish's, the Pendletons, the Cookes. Absolutely fantastic to have been part of.

"You don't spend the amount of time we did together, and go on the journey which we have been on, without having great memories."

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