April 27 (Reuters) - British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton has denied charges of discrimination by rider Jess Varnish that resulted in him being suspended by the governing body on Tuesday.
Varnish, a former European team sprint champion, was dropped from the British Cycling performance squad after she failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics at this year’s world championships in London.
She subsequently accused Sutton of making sexist remarks and the Australian has welcomed the governing body’s decision to set up an independent review into the matter, saying it would give him the chance to tell his side of the story.
”Someone who wasn’t up to the job has left the programme and should embrace my comments,“ Sutton told the Times in an interview. ”Jess was not one of the greats. It’s sad she’s come out and said the things she said.
”Jess is a wonderful girl, a beautiful person, I couldn’t ask for any more from her on the programme. Unfortunately everything comes to an end. And unfortunately her time on the programme is done.
“I‘m embracing the opportunity to actually sit in front of the panel and give my view because I don’t think I’ve been heard properly from day one of this. I’ve had great support from everybody here but at the end of the day it’s an allegation.”
Sutton also categorically denied Varnish’s accusation that he told her “to move on and get on with having a baby” and said he was hurt and upset by her allegations that he had made derogatory comments about her weight.
”No, there was never any talk of babies. I don’t know where that’s come from,“ Sutton added. ”I‘m just really upset she would say that.
“We’ve go to look at Olympic medals. Jess was devoted to her job, but unfortunately where her times were going backwards the rest of the world was progressing, so the gap was growing and growing.” (Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by John O‘Brien)