Varnish relieved after British Cycling upholds sexism allegations against Sutton

Great Britain's Jess Varnish gets ready for her ride in the the women's 500m time trial.

Great Britain's Jess Varnish gets ready for her ride in the the women's 500m time trial. (Image credit: Gerry McManus)

British track cyclist Jess Varnish says that she is relieved by British Cycling's decision to uphold her allegations of sexism against former technical director Shane Sutton, following an internal investigation. After British Cycling announced its decision in the case, Varnish wrote a statement on her website thanking those who contributed to the investigation.

"I spoke out because I wanted to shine a light on the culture at British Cycling, a culture that in my mind was incorrect," Varnish wrote in her statement. "I’m relieved that the British Cycling board have acknowledged that the language used towards me was inappropriate and discriminatory and I would like to thank those involved and those that contributed to the investigation for their time and effort.

“I’ve always believed in standing up for yourself, especially when you know things are wrong. It wasn’t easy for me to talk about this experience and I could’ve quite easily said and done nothing, but that isn’t me. I’ve always given 100% to my sport, and am still in love with cycling, so I hope that British Cycling can use this investigation as a way to improve and create a better environment for the Great Britain team."

In April, Varnish was dropped from British Cycling's Olympic programme ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio. She later spoke out saying that Sutton had made sexist remarks toward her, saying she was "too old" and should "move on and go and have a baby."

Sutton was suspended by the organisation three days later and subsequently resigned from his position as technical director.

Other former athletes also spoke out about a culture of sexism at British Cycling including Nicole Cooke and Victoria Pendleton, while some athlete stood up for Sutton, including Laura Trott and Chris Boardman.

British Cycling launched an investigation into Varnish's claims of sexims led by British Paralympic Association vice-chair Annamarie Phelps, who was supported by UK Sport CEO Liz Nicholl and Marian Lauder.

British Cycling released a statement Friday, upon the conclusion of that investigation that read, "Following an internal investigation, the British Cycling board has upheld an allegation made by Jess Varnish that former Technical Director Shane Sutton had used inappropriate and discriminatory language.

"The board wishes to put on record its sincere regret that this happened. The findings of the investigation will help the development of the organisation alongside the independent review into the culture of the World Class Programme, jointly commissioned by British Cycling and UK Sport, and led by Annamarie Phelps."

The findings of the internal investigation has been given to the independent review panel.


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