Track cyclist Jess Varnish says she was “thrown under the bus” by British Cycling and was the victim of a “cover-up”.
The 26-year-old was speaking in her first broadcast interview since last April, when she made allegations of sexism at the governing body.
Varnish told BBC Sport she was “relieved the truth was finally coming out” after she was dropped from British Cycling’s elite programme last year.
Former technical director Shane Sutton was found to have used sexist language towards her, but was cleared of eight of nine allegations against him.
In an in-depth interview, Varnish also said:
- that she may take legal action against the governing body
- that any current board members involved in the internal report into Sutton’s conduct should resign
- and that Sutton should not work as a cycling coach again
‘I feel vindicated in a way’
On Thursday, British Cycling said it did not pay “sufficient care and attention” to the wellbeing of staff and athletes at the expense of winning medals. This was in response to a leaked draft report of an investigation into alleged failings in its culture.
“I feel vindicated in a way that the truth is coming out but you obviously can’t turn back the clock,” Varnish said. “All I want is the truth to be out there because it’s the truth and that’s what people should know.
“I’ve been pulled from pillar to post. Just to get this stage and see that it’s a cover-up is huge.”
When asked if Sutton should work in cycling coaching again, she said: “From my experiences, no.”
An independent investigation into the culture at British Cycling was launched last year and is expected to deliver its findings imminently. It follows an initial internal investigation into Varnish’s complaint about Sutton.
However, the Daily Mail quotes the leaked draft of the independent investigation as saying “considerably more” of Varnish’s claims had been proven, but these findings were “reversed”.
Varnish said that any current board members involved in the initial internal report into Sutton’s conduct should resign.
“I had absolutely no faith in the investigation from the get go,” she said. “Now there needs to be changes. These people can’t be still in there if they’ve reversed facts. They can’t still be able to be on that board.
“I think the facts say it for themselves. If they’re overturning facts just to protect themselves and to protect the look of British Cycling. It’s a lot easier for them to throw me under the bus rather than the whole of British Cycling and for the actual truth to come out.”