Jess Varnish reportedly meets with new British Cycling technical director Andy Harrison but the governing body has stuck by its decision to drop her from the Olympic programme

Jess Varnish will not be considered for selection for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, according to the Press Association, with British Cycling set to stand by its decision to drop her from the programme.

Varnish, 25, is at the heart of the sexism claims made against former BC technical director Shane Sutton, who is reported to have told the rider that she was too old and should “go and have a baby” when she was not offered a new contract on the Olympic programme.

The Press Association reports that Varnish visited Manchester this week to talk with new technical director Andy Harrison, but reportedly left without gaining her place back on the programme.

The sprinter hasn’t given up on her hope of competing for Team GB in Rio, and there is nothing in the selection criteria precluding British Cycling from selecting a rider not on the Olympic programme.

“I still maintain that the decision not to renew my contract was not down to performance. Prior to the 2016 World Championships I was not once told that I was under-performing. We have monthly reviews and at no stage was I put under review, or set performance targets to keep my place on the programme,” Varnish said in a statement on Tuesday (May 17).

  • Dave2020

    Harrison wrote to his riders to say they were “free to say yes or no to interviews, but how you respond will be a big factor in our ability to support you as the current season unfolds”. The Daily Telegraph. May 24

    That’s plain English. Is it open to any interpretation, other than what it says?

  • Dave2020

    “Pendleton and James, both world champions” who were plagued by injuries (and frequently demoralised) as a direct result of incompetent training methods. Your idiocy surpasses that of the coaches.

    Get your facts right – the tiny error of judgement that led to disqualification was by Vicky, not Jess!

    Becky James set a world Junior record and didn’t improve on that 200m time for years, because she was over-geared as soon as she turned Senior. She won her world titles on a ‘low’ gear.

    From the outset, this was evidently a blatant case of victimisation. Why are the guilty parties still presiding over the scandal at BC? Can Bob Howden say, with a clear conscience, “That (selection) is something based entirely on podium potential.”?

  • mulga bill

    People are right dave, you, re losing it.You mention Varnish in the same sentence as Pendleton and James, both world champions that benefited from great coaching.Varnish only known for messing up a change and telling the Daily Tail she had a fat bottom.Time for you to take you seat on the revenge bus with her, Pendleton and Cooke and drive off mate!

  • Chris

    I refer you to my “diatribe”, sentence by,sentence please, no omissions

  • Dave2020

    What points? Ask a sensible question and I’ll give you a sensible answer.

  • Chris

    You don’t address the points. Afraid?

  • Chris

    You don’t address the points. Afraid?

  • Dave2020

    I have never been upset. It’s the abused athletes who have been reduced to tears.

  • Dave2020

    Numerous injuries – I was proven right.

  • Dave2020

    We all know the meaning of diatribe. That’s a perfect example.

  • Michael

    No, you’ve been proven wrong time and time again.

  • Michael

    “You ignore the facts of failure.”

    You are the failure. That’s the fact.

    You were ignored by BC and are still crying. Aww.

    > This is the 21st. century

    Such insight.

  • Chris

    It would appear you have no friends in the cycling fraternity. It is not only me who thinks you are deluded. You are suffering from a persecution complex, even the Moderater is now plotting against you. Who next? Now with your claims ‘re your Australian connection you have gone beyond the provable. I have now sent out emails to my contacts., We will see if they have ever heard of you or your “papers”. You are becoming increasingly childish with your protestations. You can’t even dream up your own cliches, copying mine frequently, plus your most wounding comment, about my spelling. You are a figure of fun with your prejudices against B.C.. No doubt you will reply to this with yet another long winded hysterical diatribe, please do, we all need a good laugh. Just remember you are not as good an author as J K Rowling.

  • Dave2020

    The moderator is an anonymous journalist at CW who removes unsuitable posts. The criteria for holding back a comment from immediate posting are a mystery to us all, but I guess that BC bring pressure to bear on anything they don’t like. My reply to you answered your question and tried to explain the situation. I will try a different tack, to see if it gets posted straight away. .

    Jess qualified for the team sprint – GB didn’t. That’s a very important distinction, which places the blame where it should be:-

    “Dyer conceded that GB would have easily qualified for the team sprint, if Becky James had not been suffering from a knee injury.”

    Sutton distorted his false claims of under-performance by heartlessly stating Varnish had not improved since 2012 (where she set a world record with Pendleton). Jess was put back to worse than square one by a prolapsed disc early in 2013.

    My criticism of BC’s maximal weight-lifting regime in 2009 was tragically prescient. I warned Dyer of the risks they were taking, but they don’t care. They believe you have to strain muscle to the limit of its strength to do well in sprints. They’re idiots.

    Yours sincerely, Dave Smart

  • David Bassett

    In the way of what?

  • David Bassett

    Dave who is the moderator, and which is the factual explanation. And explanation of what.

  • Dave2020

    I “put up” in 2009, when I wrote to BC warning them of the error of their ways. Every year since I’ve been proven right.

    It is both honest and entirely correct to say – “I told you so.”

  • Dave2020

    The rider’s success speaks for itself. The coaches’ success is an entirely separate question. Don’t conflate the two. The coaches lap that up – it’s self-promotion and the stuff of myth and legend. The athlete’s achieved what they did IN SPITE OF the debilitating training they were put through. Not one of them performed any good when the coaches got it wrong – ask Ed Clancy.

    I know precisely “how to achieve what they have” AND do that without the psychological and physical trauma inflicted by the outdated mantra – “No pain, no gain”. I proved it forty years ago and I’ve proved it again over the past six years. You’ll have to wait for the autobiographies. . . .

    The most telling facts were proven in Glasgow. In the road events, England and Wales topped the 2014 Commonwealth Games medal table with 3 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze – more than three times any other nation. With a few notable exceptions, the track team flopped (and Sir Chris Hoy wasn’t even there, because he couldn’t take any more punishment). Sutton and Dyer made fools of themselves in giving their ‘excuses’ to the press!!

    You ignore the facts of failure. Cherry-picking isn’t a good way to construct your case.

    Your tripe attributes TdF victories to the training methods of track coaches? Have you taken leave of your senses? The one time Kerrison introduced squats into Wiggo’s training regime it ruined his 2013 season. You’re utterly clueless.

    This is the 21st. century Michael. Those in the know say – “Minimise pain if you wish to maximise gain. In other words, be ‘nice’ to yourself.” Above all else, don’t get injured.

  • Michael

    No one is perfect. No team is perfect.

    Their success speaks for itself. Not just in competition but the massive increase in ordinary people becoming interested in cycling that their success has generated too.

    Their success trumps yours because you haven’t got the first clue how to achieve what they have.

    That’s why you’re left here, in these comments, repeating the same tripe over and over, a bitter, broken failure.

  • Dave2020

    The medals for the women’s team sprint will be decided in the absence of GB, because Sutton and Dyer messed up. Even you can’t change the facts. Take your delusions elsewhere.

  • Michael

    “My ‘success’ or otherwise is irrelevant.”

    Close. What you meant to say is “My success is non-existent. I failed once and instead of improving I chose to turn bitter and constantly cry about it for the next few years”

    It’s time to get over it because your audience is not fooled by it.

    It’s the green-eyed monster, Dave and it’s mocked you for a long time.

    The last word will be on the track in Rio and France as British cyclists successfully compete and win whilst you desperately try to pretend they aren’t winning.

  • Dave2020

    The facts are staring you in the face, but you don’t give a damn about the health and welfare of the injured and bullied BC team.

    You could ask Jess how it feels, being unable to even reach the ‘bars because of a prolapsed disc. You could ask BC why Becky James had to have surgery on her shoulder, damaged in the Manchester gym when she was sixteen. You could ask Victoria Pendleton how many hours she had to waste attending physio for treatment she should never have needed.

    ‘Chris’ said I could have the last word. You’d be well advised to follow his example. You’re way out of your depth. My ‘success’ or otherwise is irrelevant. Facts are sacred. Do shut up.

  • Michael

    You’ve never posted anything factual and the explanation for your constant “BC are terrible” posts is very transparent because it’s in your posts going back years.

    Meanwhile they are winning more and more even as you try to construct a reality where they are doing everything wrong they still win.

    They are hugely successful. You are not. It’s time to get over it.

    If you have anything to offer the world of competitive cycling other than continued bile and bitterness towards one of the, if not the, most successful cycling teams out there, then find a team that will listen to your nonsense and prove it.

    If you had anything of substance to offer then you’d have gone and BEATEN Team GB – after all, from all your blather over the past few years that should be trivial.

    But you know, even if Shane did call Jess “wobblebottom” that doesn’t preclude the big haul of medals they’ve won (and the 3 TdF wins, hour record and so on that British cyclists have won) so your feeble attempt to link your own past grievances with this current hoohah fails miserably.

    Put up, or shut up. Either way, stop trying to delude yourself that you’re using facts or evidence. You’re just waving your arms around because they said “No thanks”

  • Dave2020

    “Louis van Gaal tactics left Manchester United players close to mutiny.”

    For the good of British cycle racing, the riders on our Rio team need to go all the way.

  • Dave

    In the case of the British women’s Team Sprint team, they did indeed have a ‘performance review’ carried out by the Russian, German, Dutch, Spanish and French teams.

    It is this ‘performance review’ which resulted in Jess Varnish being dropped from the Olympic performance squad for the remainder of the preparation leading up to Rio, Britain having not qualified a place for her event at the upcoming Olympics. We know she is not the best British rider in the Keirin or Sprint (see the UCI rankings) so there’s no reason to have her hanging around the Olympic team unless she plans on going to Rio as a soigneur or mechanic.

    Note that in sports outside of the UK, a ‘performance review’ is usually described by a term such as ‘race’, ‘match’ or ‘trial’.

  • Dave2020

    I posted a factual explanation to David Bassett 6 hours ago, but the moderator is sleeping on it.

    My opinion and speculation are a minor element and entirely reasonable. Your denial of the facts show that you have the same callous lack of empathy for wronged and injured athletes as Sutton, Dyer and the S&C coaches. Your ‘wounded inventor’ slur is a figment of your imagination.

    The sooner the bad apples are removed from BC the better for all concerned.

  • Michael

    It’s a pity you forget his name otherwise you’d have recognised it as the same guy once again crying in these comments because British cycling rejected his invention.

    As ever the anti British cycling theme is the same, as is his laughable citing of his crass speculation and hand-waving as “facts” or “evidence”

    Sadly, I don’t think there’s a cure.

  • llos25

    Do not let facts get in your way.

  • Somebloke

    If a rider doesn’t need to be told they are under-performing, then obviously there is no need for performance reviews at all – and anyway, they can just figure it out from ‘clues’ – a raised eyebrow here, a muttered comment there. If you’re saying there was no strategy cock-up and the best riders were sent to all the qualifying events, then why weren’t those same riders given the job of beating the French?

    There seem to be a lot of insiders posting here with a variety of axes to grind. As an outsider, I can only speak for what has been released publicly and that is pretty damning. A strategy cock-up is blamed on the riders and the rider who speaks out is dropped from the program for under-performing, but nothing is released to back up the assertion she was under-performing. Add to that a board and management structure that is made up entirely of men and has spent the bulk of it’s lottery funding on male riders. Then there are the accusations of overt sexism backed up by multiple former (and current) world/olympic champions. From a PR (and therefore funding) perspective, it’s not pretty.

    That BC should have effectively leaked their report suggests they have their heads in the sand and believe nothing needs to change – they’re rather cynically testing the water. However, leaking the
    report does also mean they can still backtrack. I would suggest if they don’t intend to publish objective proof, backtracking might be a good option. The storm hasn’t started yet – there is still time for some damage limitation.

  • Dave

    Quite right.

    Having been beaten by the French in the race for the last qualifying slot in the only Olympic event she races, there’s no rational reason to keep her in the Olympic performance squad for the remainder of this Olympic preparation cycle. Her presence would only serve to distract and obstruct the riders who do have events at Rio to prepare for, unless she wants to moonlight as a signer or mechanic.

    I’m sure she’ll get a chance to race her way into the 2020 performance squad once Rio is done and dusted.

  • Dave

    An athlete with the talent and drive to get to the Olympics and perform well there does not need to be told when they are underperforming. They can tell.

    The regular evenings off while other teams raced the Team Sprint finals at major competitions should have been a clue.

    Objective proof won’t be hard to find, I’m sure someone would be able to dig up at least one email with an explanation of the Olympic qualifying process or an agenda for a team meeting regarding Olympic qualifying.

    The good thing for Varnish is that she’s not permanently out of the picture. Rio is out of reach unless she takes a leaf from the Tonya Harding playbook (she is not the best GBR rider in any events they have qualified for) but there’s nothing preventing her racing her way back into the performance program with good results over the next couple of track seasons.

    Does she have what it takes? We’ll find out at some point.

  • CanSomeoneTellMe

    Great to see Becky and Katy both doing sub 11’s last week and riding well and getting podiums in Germany and France. Keep doing what you’re doing ladies!!

  • Dave2020

    Sutton was telling porkies by stretching out the claimed period of ‘under-performance’ to 3 years. Jess was off for five months in 2013 with a prolapsed disc. She wasn’t given the all clear by her physio until 2014. So, as a matter of fact, we have proof of his callous indifference to the health and welfare of the victims of BC’s crass training program.

    Dyer conceded that GB would have easily qualified for the team sprint, if Becky James had not been suffering from a knee injury.

    Any under-performance by any member of the squad can be directly attributed to bad coaching.

    Ed Clancy’s criticism, after the Cali debacle, was spot on – errors of judgement by the coaches, who cynically laid the blame on the riders.

    According to Dyer, the team were on ‘schedule’ to peak for the Commonwealth Games. After that failure, Sutton “defended” England’s poor Commonwealth Games performance on the track, revealing that his team “never planned to be on peak form in Glasgow, conceding that the majority of the team were ‘still heavy’ from gym strengthening work.”

    There’s only one word for that and it’s not under-performance, it’s incompetence.

  • David Bassett

    How the hell was it BC fault that she did not qualify for the team sprint due to injuries. Or are you going to go down the same path that guy (Forgotten his name) said that doing squats was totally wrong and BC were injuring its riders. I would have loved to have seen Jess Varnish winning everything she rode, so she would be on the team, but unfortunately results speak for themselves. She has not had the results needed. I do hope there are some events she can ride to prove BC wrong, but unless she can pull something super human out of the bag then it won’t happen. I have always stood up for woman’s cycling but since this story broke the press (even on Breakfast News) has been all over our sport, and unfortunately for the wrong reasons.
    Strange that riders who have had all the SUPPORT off BC are now coming out saying how bad it is.
    If you had memories of GB not getting any medals at all then maybe you would have a different view of what is going on, and thank the whole team up at Manchester for bringing our sport to where it is today.

  • mulga bill

    Dave, most fathers want whats best for there daughters, but it seems now that Sutton and Dyer are not the only ones who think that shes not up to it, perhaps they looked at results and not data

  • Somebloke

    I can appreciate that publishing performance figures in the run up to an Olympics is not ideal, but in this case I don’t see British Cycling has any alternative if they want to avoid the obvious accusations. If Jess was under-performing, but was never told, that too needs to be explained.
    The loss of lottery funding would be a massive blow to UK cycling, but unless these accusations are put to bed one way or another I can not see any other outcome. Either Jess is reinstated or BC must publish objective proof that she was under-performing and proof that she was told and given the chance to improve. At this point in time, nothing else will do.

  • Dave2020

    “She does not seem to have been going that well for some time. That was why she was dropped in the first place.” – That’s not true. It’s the story made up by Sutton and Dyer. They wouldn’t and couldn’t have ‘sacked’ Jess, if GB had qualified for the team sprint. End of story.

    “Varnish claims she was never put on performance review and has never been given adequate data to support her sacking, either during her appeals process or in Friday’s (May 20) meeting. British Cycling insists she has been given all the data she asked for.”

    They can’t both be right. On the basis of the evidence so far, I know who I would trust to be telling it straight.

    The fact of the matter is; Jess was a certain selection for the Rio team sprint. It was clearly the fault of management that GB did not qualify (due to injuries and bad qualification strategy).

    There never was any reason not to renew her contract, in preparation for the 2020 Games.

  • reece46

    How is Sutton still connected to BC?

  • David Bassett

    That would be good. But is it possible. She does not seem to have been going that well for some time. That was why she was dropped in the first place.

  • Howmanyjackos

    Hope her performance will prove BC wrong.
    Good look J

  • Disgraceful. BC looking after their own.