The Team Sky rider releases a statement after Shane Sutton resigned from his role at British Cycling over discrimination claims

Geraint Thomas has said that Shane Sutton did “more than most for British Cycling” in his time there, after the Australian quit his role at the national governing body on Wednesday having been accused of making discriminatory remarks.

>>> What you need to know about the British Cycling discrimination scandal

Sutton was accused by track sprinter Jess Varnish that he once told her to “go and have a baby” after she was dropped from the Olympic programme, while Darren Kenny, a six-time paralympic gold medallist, alleged the former technical director described para-cyclists as “f**king gimps.”

An investigation was launched by British Cycling and Sutton was suspended from his role, but later decided to resign to make sure as “athletes begin their final preparations for Rio, they are able to do so free of distraction.”

Thomas, who worked with Sutton to achieve two Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012 and numerous world titles, as well as success on the road at Team Sky, released a statement on Wednesday evening saying that inequality was a problem throughout the sport as a whole and not something that would stop with his former coach’s resignation.

>>> ‘Hypocrisy and double standards in respect to gender are ingrained in cycling’

“With regards to recent events I’d like to say that there is absolutely no place for inequality in sport,” Thomas said, “and the recent accusations made against British cycling [sic] need to be looked at and treated seriously.

“However, I would like to talk about my personal experience and say that Shane is one of the main reasons I am where I am today. He has always wanted the best for British riders, and gone the extra mile for us. He’s done more than most for British Cycling.

“The inequity issues won’t finish with Shane’s resignation/investigation, there is a problem with inequality in cycling as a whole that needs to be addressed.”

Welshman Thomas is currently riding at the Tour de Romandie alongside Chris Froome and his other teammates at Sky, where Sutton previously held the role of head coach, before taking up the technical director role at British Cycling when Dave Brailsford left to focus fully on British WorldTour team.

Andy Harrison, programmes director at British Cycling, will now take over Sutton’s role with immediate effect in preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“The developments over the past few days have clearly become a distraction,” Sutton said in a statement on Wednesday. “It is for this reason, and having spoken to friends and family, that I believe it is in the best interests of British Cycling for me to step down from my position as technical director.

“I have made clear that I reject the specific claims that have been made against me in recent days, and I look forward to taking a full part in the review process so I can respond to the allegations in detail.”

  • John Senior

    All sport is pretty much discriminatory on the grounds of gender because history has ensured that women are having to pay catch up – as such any cycling..that is beginning to tackle this issue should be commended – and sports like beach volleyball where the prescribed uniform for women is bikini briefs – ought to be taking a hard look at themselves.
    It would be difficult to defend the remarks Sutton has made but people should keep in mind that British cycling is a ‘payment by results’ organisation in which there is no room for sentimentality and some very hard decisions have to be made. It’s probably also true that if everyone anyone had ever worked with decided to share everything any one of us had ever said out of context with the national media I wonder how many of us would be feeling comfortable.
    Should there be an investigation – Yes.
    Should Sutton have stepped down – Yes
    Is there a need for a high profile woman in GB cycling – Yes
    Have women been highly successful in GB cycling – Yes
    Would Victoria Pendleton be getting £1,000,000 for riding a horse without GB cycling – No
    Is Jess Varnish good enough to stay on the programme – Unlikely
    If Jess Varnish hadn’t lost her place would she have said anything – probably not

  • NitroFan

    Sorry guy just realised i was feeding a troll my bad.

  • NitroFan

    Best you do not its libelous unless you have proof …so do you?

  • Samuel Clemens

    Always the (even hypothetical) white guy who’s the racist, eh ;-).

  • Supong Longchar

    Let this riders, likes of Jess Varnish etc get into an inter-disciplinary sports of how it is to be in the field being an athlete. At least they would come out with the realisation of being not so touchy.

  • J1

    Pipe down Geraint.

  • J1

    Who was a massive doper…..but let’s not talk about that.

  • NitroFan

    Well done British Cycling you caved in to nothing more than political correctness and sour grapes. And in the process lost one of the worlds best coaches.

  • Sutton Atkins

    I think he’s a “Marmite guy”. You either love him or hate him. And highly likely that he either “loves or hates” you. No middle ground with a straight talkin’ Ozzy.

  • Sutton Atkins

    G is missing the point. He might have done a lot for British Cycling, but it seems that he has done “other stuff” also. Not acceptable.

  • Samuel Clemens

    And my apologies if that was implied, it wasn’t intended. I wasn’t referring to Mr Sutton specifically, merely making the point that these things aren’t a reflection of competence.

  • Shireen Liane

    surely that makes you good at SOME of your job? he’s good at training men for road and track, but he would appear to be lousy at training women & paraolympians. Geraint’s a man, & his personal experience of Sutton is good, but that’s like a favoured white guy saying “there are no racists in this office,” when all of the black people say otherwise. of course, he doesn’t see it – it doesn’t happen to him.

  • dourscot

    He hasn’t been accused of racism.

  • dourscot

    It’s interesting that a number of riders have defended Sutton, including female riders. Clearly, there is more to this than simple sexism or bullying.

  • Norfolk_n_Chance

    Down with this sort of thing!

  • Gazzaputt

    Well said

  • Samuel Clemens

    You can be a bigot and a sexist and a racist (thought crimes, to be sure) and also very good at your job. Let’s not lose sight of that; what it means is that if your feelings get a bit hurt because of what someone thinks or says, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to chuck the baby out with the bathwater.