London - British Cycling has been accused of creating a
"culture of fear", with a leaked review also saying it made a
"shocking and inexcusable decision" to reverse findings into
allegations of sexism.
The Daily Mail, citing Friday a leaked draft copy of an
independent review into British Cycling by UK Sport, said an inquiry led by
British Cycling's grievance officer Alex Russell found "considerably
more" than one of the nine claims against former technical director Shane
Sutton by rider Jess Varnish could be proven.
It was revealed in December that Australian coach Sutton,
who together with Dave Brailsford has been widely credited for overseeing the
transformation of British Cycling into a medal-winning powerhouse, had been
found guilty of one count of using inappropriate language but that insufficient
evidence could be found to support eight other charges.
The ruling failed to satisfy either Sutton, who resigned in
April last year but who has repeatedly denied misconduct, or Varnish, who had
her funding removed after failing to qualify for Rio 2016.
Varnish said Sutton's response was to tell her to "go
and have a baby".
Eventually, a review into the culture of British Cycling's
world-class performance programme led by British Rowing chair Annamarie Phelps
was set up.
According to the Mail, the leaked draft review said British
Cycling looked to change Russell's conclusions in a bid to retain the
"The actions of the British Cycling board in that
regard are shocking and inexcusable," the paper quoted the review as
"They also call into serious question whether the
composition of the British Cycling board is fit to govern a national sporting
The review reportedly said British Cycling had been badly
governed for years.
According to the Mail, the review said former performance
director Brailsford, now in charge at track outfit Team Sky, had been an
Management was "characterised by fear and bullying from
"Since the late 2000s, cracks in terms of the climate
and culture have been present," the report added, according to the Mail.
"Instead of being repaired as they should have been,
those cracks were ignored in pursuit of medal success."
That will make uncomfortable reading for UK Sport who've
repeatedly emphasised their "no compromise" formula for funding that
is based solely on prospects of that medal success.
British Cycling, responding in a statement, said it now
accepted "that the world class programme leadership focused on athlete
performance and medal delivery without sufficient care and attention to the
overall staff and athlete culture and environment".
Last week, British Cycling was criticised by United Kingdom
Anti-Doping before a committee of lawmakers for failing to keep proper records
of drugs given to riders.
UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead revealed to a committee
of lawmakers that British cycling officials had told her that information
relating to star rider Bradley Wiggins had been lost after a team doctor's
computer was stolen on holiday in Greece in 2014.
An eight-time Olympic gold medallist, Wiggins has faced
repeated questions about his medical history since Russian hackers Fancy Bears
revealed documents last September which showed he received TUEs (therapeutic
use exemptions) for the corticosteroid triamcinolone to coincide with three
major races in 2011, 2012 and 2013 - including his victory in the 2012 Tour de
TUE's are official notes allowing athletes to use otherwise
banned substances for the treatment of legitimate medical conditions.
But many within cycling claim the system is open to abuse.
Wiggins, however, has always denied any wrongdoing and
insisted he needed the treatment to deal with a pollen allergy.