British Cycling suspends Shane Sutton over sexism claims and bullying

Shane Sutton, British Cycling’s technical director, has been suspended with cycling’s national governing body launching an internal investigation into allegations of ­sexism, bullying and derogatory ­remarks regarding para-cyclists, on top of an independent review of its entire performance programme.

The allegations have been mounting in the last days. Sutton denied fresh claims that he had referred to para-cyclists as “gimps” and “wobblies”. But those were just the latest in a succession of damaging stories. After the Daily Telegraph broke the news of Jess Varnish’s controversial sacking from the squad last week, she claimed that he had made sexist and discriminatory remarks towards her.

Those claims were backed up by Victoria Pendleton, the Olympic champion describing a “bullying, suffocating culture” at British Cycling, where she said sexism was an issue.

Nicole Cooke, another former Olympic champion, also voiced her support for Varnish, as did Wendy Houvenaghel, the retired Northern Irish rider describing Sutton as a “narcissistic little bully”.

In a statement released early on Wednesday morning, British Cycling said:

“Following the announcement of an independent review into British Cycling’s performance programmes, we are also announcing technical director Shane Sutton has been suspended pending an internal investigation into the allegations of discrimination that have been reported in the press.”