British Cycling admits 'shortcomings' over sexism and bullying claims

The admissions come in response to an independent review of the organisation's World Class Performance Programme

Team GB, British Cycling

Image: John Walton/PA Wire/PA Images

British Cycling has admitted "shortcomings" in the organisation which led to claims of sexism and bullying.

The admissions come in response to an independent review of the organisation's World Class Performance Programme.

The conduct of leading coaches and officials has been investigated as part of the review, following allegations made by cyclist Jess Varnish.

Among those scrutinised have been former performance director Sir Dave Brailsford and former technical director Shane Sutton.

Varnish accused Mr Sutton of sexism and bullying and he resigned, without accepting the allegations.

An internal investigation by the British Cycling board upheld a complaint that he had described female riders as "bitches".

But the new draft independent review - seen by the Daily Mail - levels several critcisms at British Cycling.

These include suggestions British Cycling's handling of Varnish's allegations against Sutton was "inept" and their conclusions "sanitised".

It also suggests that while Mr Sutton was an excellent coach, he was not offered any form of management training when he was promoted to the position in 2014.

In a statement British Cycling said it accepted that the programme leadership "focused on athlete performance and medal delivery without sufficient care and attention to the overall staff and athlete culture and environment".

It also said British Cycling leadership "did not have adequate oversight and control of the World Class Programme and consequently failed to adequately grasp and subsequently address the early warning signs".

The review was chaired by the chairman of British Rowing, Annamarie Phelps.