Jess Varnish has criticised the independent review into British Cycling and said that it was "laughable" that she was labelled as a troublemaker by coaches in the final version of the report.
"I am insulted," Varnish told The Times. "In a way, I'm glad they have used this language because it shows what the people are like in there [British Cycling]. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a troublemaker or ringleader. No one has ever been removed from the programme the way I was."
The Cycling Independent Review was triggered when Varnish made allegations of sexism against British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton after she was dropped from the Olympic squad. Varnish said that Sutton had informed of her removal by telling her to "go and have a baby".
Varnish and her sprint partner Katy Marchant had criticised coaching staff in an interview at the Track Worlds in London in March 2016 when they fell short of qualifying for the Olympics. The review acknowledged that "the relevant interview was the 'tipping-point' which led to JV not having her membership of the WCP [World Class Programme] renewed". Coaches reportedly told the review panel that Varnish "was perceived as the 'ring-leader' for the criticism against WCP coaching staff".
"I was never called a troublemaker or a ringleader to my face," Varnish said. "It's an emotional thing to say. How do they quantify that and what do they mean by it?"
According to The Times, Varnish's legal team is considering further action in the wake of the report, which acknowledges that "good governance was lacking at BC Board level in relation to how it managed the culture and behaviours within the WCP". A draft version of the report leaked in March, however, was amended in the intervening period, including the claim that the board had sanitised an internal inquiry into Varnish's allegations.
Passages critical of Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford, who was also British Cycling performance director until 2014, have also been removed, following a process of "Maxwellisation", in which those named in the draft report were able to present dispute or counter its contents.
Former British Cycling coach Ken Matheson had provided evidence, and he told The Times that he was "quite appalled" by the final version of the report.
"I would say it is a whitewash," Matheson said. "The whole purpose of this review was to get to the truth and I'm not sure we have. This is an organisation that has been sick for an awful long time. I feel I have totally wasted my time."
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