Shane Sutton takes up role with Chinese track team

British Cycling’s Shane Sutton before the London Track Worlds

British Cycling’s Shane Sutton before the London Track Worlds

Former British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton has signed a contract to work with the Chinese national squad. According to a report in the Daily Mail, Sutton will be part of the Chinese team next month when the track World Cup visits Manchester after signing the deal on Friday.

China won their first gold medal on the track at Rio last year with Gong Jinjie and Zhong Tianshi's victory in the team sprint.

Sutton had been linked with a number of national squads, including his native Australia, but that was taken by British coach Simon Jones. He was part of the British Cycling set-up from 2002 – where he stepped up to technical director in 2014 – before he resigned early last year amidst accusations of bullying and sexism.

In April last year, sprinter Jess Varnish alleged that Sutton had made sexist comments towards her, telling her to "move on and go and have a baby" when he dropped her from the Olympic programme after the World Championships. It was later alleged by former Paralympic gold medallist Darren Kenny that Sutton had referred to Paralympic athletes as Gimps.

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An independent review and an internal review were announced by British Cycling, and Sutton was suspended. Sutton resigned from his position a day later but always denied the accusations and remained confident that he would regain his position following the investigations.

In October 2016, British Cycling's internal investigation upheld the claims against Sutton. However, there was controversy, and outrage from Varnish, when it was revealed that only one of Varnish's nine accusations was upheld. The sprinter vowed to appeal the decision, as did Sutton. It wasn't until this year that the results of the independent review were released. It upheld claimed of a 'culture of fear' at British Cycling, although large portions of it were altered or entirely redacted compared to a version leaked in March.

British Cycling has undergone several changes since the allegations came out with Julie Harrington coming in as CEO and Stephen Park stepping into the performance director role. Coach Heiko Salzwedel was sacked earlier this month while Dr Richard Freeman departed the set-up after being embroiled in the 'jiffy bag' revelations that followed the release of hacked Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs).

Harrington recently said that Varnish could make a return to British Cycling if she proved herself fast enough.

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