International Cycling

Varnish 'upset' by British Cycling sexism findings

2016-12-08 14:03
Jess Varnish (Getty Images)

London - Former Olympic cyclist Jess Varnish said she was "shocked and upset" after it emerged only one of her nine complaints against British Cycling's former technical director Shane Sutton was upheld.

British Cycling said in October that Varnish's allegation of "inappropriate and discriminatory language" against Sutton, a 59-year-old Australian, had been upheld.

But the BBC reported on Wednesday that Sutton had been cleared of eight of the charges and that the British Cycling board has only found he may have used the word "bitches".

"I am shocked and upset by this latest news and have instructed my solicitor to appeal the findings of the internal investigation on my behalf," Varnish, 26, told the BBC.

"Having provided substantial evidence to back up my complaints, to now learn that the majority were not upheld is heartbreaking. I know what was said and I know I've told the truth."

The BBC said a leaked document showed the British Cycling board had not upheld claims Sutton used the term "Sheilas" or told Varnish: "Get on with having a baby."

Sutton resigned in April ahead of the Rio Olympics over Varnish's sexism allegations, as well as separate claims he called Paralympic cyclists "gimps" and "wobblies".

He rejected the allegations, but said he was stepping down so as not to create distractions prior to the Olympics.

He said last month he would appeal against British Cycling's verdict.

The BBC said British Cycling's board had also not been satisfied by allegations of swearing against Sutton and claims he said women were difficult.

It also rejected allegations he made comments about bodyweight and claims equipment was not evenly distributed between male and female riders.

Varnish added: "I have requested from British Cycling the full investigation report to understand why the weight of evidence provided by me and others wasn't sufficient for the board to uphold my complaints."

Varnish was dropped from British Cycling's world-class performance programme after her and partner Katy Marchant failed to qualify for the Olympics in the two-woman, two-lap team sprint.

Marchant went to Rio and won a bronze medal in the individual sprint.

Varnish now works as a personal trainer, having elected not to appeal against her exclusion from the programme.


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