A REVIEW has been launched by British Cycling after accusations of sexism towards Bromsgrove Olympic cyclist Jess Varnish resulted in the resignation of technical director Shane Sutton.
The cycling boss was suspended after the track rider said Mr Sutton had told her ‘to go and have a baby’ and that she was ‘too old to compete and not worth wasting money on’.
Miss Varnish missed out on qualifying for the 2016 Olympics after she came fifth in the team sprint at the World Championships last month, which was the reason Mr Sutton put forward for dropping her from the team.
However, she said nobody had ever raised any concerns about her power or speed on the track and that she was never told she was not improving or hitting appropriate targets.
She claimed she was refused her data when she asked for evidence of her poor performance.
“I saw Shane and asked if I could have some of the information,” she said. “They couldn’t give it to me and said I’d been on the programme too long, that I was too old at the age of 25. Shane said that I should just move on and go and have a baby.
“Other than it being hugely sexist, my boyfriend is about to compete at the Olympics for Shane’s team. I’ve got a list as long as my arm about comments I’ve had about my figure and it’s not right.”
Mr Sutton responded to her claims in a statement in which he said: “I wholeheartedly deny that I said or did anything other than act with complete professionalism in my dealings with Jess.”
However, the 58-year-old resigned on Wednesday and said the allegations “became a distraction” to British athletes and he decided to step down “in the best interests of British Cycling”.
British Cyling said it will not yet announce the exact conditions of the review.
Its spokesman said: “We are fully committed to the principles and active promotion of equality of opportunity and we must take any such allegations seriously.”