Former Great Britain track cycling sprinter Jess Varnish says that she will meet with GB team staff on her return from Australia


Jess Varnish is determined to make her way back onto the Great Britain track cycling team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Varnish lost her place on the team in April, sparking a furore that eventually led to the resignation of British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton amid allegations of sexism and bullying.

Sutton had told Varnish that her performances weren’t up to the required level, saying: “There is no point carrying on and wasting UK Sport’s money on someone who is not going to medal going forward.”

Varnish also alleges that Sutton told her to “move on and get on with having a baby”. Varnish also believes that she was left out of the team after making comments during a television interview after the 2016 world championships where she criticised the GB team’s selection procedure.

>>> Jess Varnish alleges ‘sexism’ in Great Britain team: British Cycling and Shane Sutton issue statement

In a statement issued on Varnish’s personal website on Tuesday, the 25-year-old said that she wants to get her place back on the GB team and can win a medal.

Varnish states that she has set up a meeting with new BC performance director Andy Harrison on her return from Australia.

“My immediate priority is to win back my place on the British Cycling team, ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games, and to prove that I was, and still am, good enough to win medals for Great Britain,” wrote Varnish. “I have reached out to the new performance director at British Cycling, Andy Harrison, and will meet with him on my return to the UK.

Jess Varnish Victoria Pendleton womens team sprint silver medal 2011 world track championships.jpg

Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton claimed silver in the women’s team sprint at the 2011 world track championships


“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.

>>> Shane Sutton’s exit won’t impact on Rio Olympics, says GB coach Rod Ellingworth

“The first I knew that the coaches had an issue with my performance levels, or training data, was five days after the 2016 World Championships, when I was told I wouldn’t be getting a new contract over the phone.

“I also maintain that I am a world-class athlete, and have the ability to win more medals for Great Britain.”

Varnish then details her achievements in assisting the GB squad to qualify places for the individual sprint and keirin disciplines at the 2016 Olympics – GB did not qualify for the team sprint.

Watch: My toughest day – Alex Dowsett

“During the two-year Olympic qualifying process I gained more qualifying points than any other British female sprint rider, I was consistently performing in the top five in the world for lap one times in the team sprint, I qualified the Olympic places for Great Britain in the individual sprint and keirin. Since 2012 I have won medals at the World and European Championships and Commonwealth Games.”

According to the UCI’s track ranking, Varnish is currently the top-ranked British rider in the sprint discipline. Katy Marchant and Becky James are currently front runners for GB’s sprint discipline places.

“It is been a dream for me ever since London 2012 to compete and be successful in Rio,” Varnish said.

  • David Bassett

    Very much.
    What a lot of people don’t understand is that sport in the UK is kept afloat by Lottery funding. The more medals the more money. Jess has not lived up to her potential and rightly or wrongly BC has said enough is enough. I am sure that they will change the very good contracts they have enjoyed to say “you are in as long as you meet the criteria” and not a “fixed term”. It seems that she wants t be paid off for having her contract ended, but wants back in for a second bite of the cherry.

  • richcyclo

    I’m assuming you are agreeing.

  • Dave2020

    You won’t ever “come back” with confirmation of your fevered fantasies, because everything I’ve written is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That’s another thing we can be sure of with Jess Varnish too, whereas Sutton and Dyer don’t have a leg to stand on. You’re full of bull**** and can’t spell.

  • Chris

    Your full of b*llsh*t. I have good contacts in Australian cycling. If you are lying it will soon surface. I will come back in due course..
    Be sure your lies will catch you out.

  • Dave2020

    It’s confidential – none of your business. As a matter of courtesy I leave it up to him, if he chooses to enlighten a self-appointed keyboard warrior like you.

    Now, you said I could have the last word, so shut up!

  • Chris

    So name your expert! Australian? I possibly know him. It will be easy to confirm your story. Until you can produce confirmed facts I can only assume you are just a frustrated Jess Varnish fan boy ..
    In the meantime I will make my own enquiries

  • Dave2020

    Without my knowledge, some of my ‘papers’ were forwarded to a respected expert down under. His reply to the third party was:-

    “Thank you for sending me these. I am still digesting everything written and there is a lot of good info there. It is great material to stimulate thought and I enjoy reading his perspectives.”

    On the basis of not having a clue what you’re talking about, you accuse me of ignorance. I never said “the rest of the world is wrong”. That’s another silly response from your ‘emotional chimp’. BC is wrong. That’s an entirely different matter.

    You said I could have the last word, so shut up!

  • Chris

    I never conceded, I said I was bored dealing with a keyboard warrior such as yourself, who’s self belief was only eclipsed by his ignorance. Oh, sorry, I forgot David Smart is right and the rest of the world is wrong.

  • Dave2020

    “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, to prepare for the 2020 Games.

  • Dave2020

    The credibility of my argument is self-evident.

    Thank you for conceding, Chris. I know how important it is for you to have the last word. You’re right, of course, pseudo science is the problem – nothing new there.

    In 1967, the ill-informed ‘science’ of Hamley & Thomas told us that the 109% seat height rule and a cadence as low as 60rpm were the most ‘efficient’. Today, there are many coaches and riders who still believe that nonsense – a classic case of Garbage in, Gospel out.

    The modern idiocy is the idea that; “A little more strength is a good thing – therefore a lot more strength is even better.” Too many BC coaches labour under that delusion and push keen young athletes beyond safe limits. The sooner they understand their stupid error the better.

    Nowadays, they’re all drowning in data. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Those that lack the intelligence to correctly interpret the data are doing more harm than good.

    Try putting yourself in the victim’s (cycling) shoes. You bust your gut (almost literally) doing what you’ve been told to do and when your performance falls short of expectations your idiot coach adds insult to injury by blaming you!!!

  • Chris

    Full marks for your imagined contacts. Unproven references are useless. How do expect to maintain any credibility with your arguments. Anyway I am bored with your pseudo science. I am filing you under frustrated troll, you are not worth my time, so please feel free to have the last word.

  • Dave2020

    The internet is a wonderful thing. We can communicate with people and not even know where they live! Now you’re being very silly. What difference does it make to you if I give you a list of names? Here’s a typical exchange:-

    “Wow, thanks Dave, that is indeed a great help. I didn’t even expect to get a reply.”

    Thanks Marco, I find your feedback is very useful too.

    “I sympathise with Shanaze. I try to find the best position for track sprint and the information is scarce or hard to believe. If you were looking for the optimal position, where would you start?”

    I’ve posted my e-mail address on numerous websites. When I’m asked sensible questions I give sensible, well-informed answers. . . Guys like you are a waste of space on these threads.

  • Chris

    ANSWER THE QUESTION! Who? Name names. I’ve not seen anyone on this forum. Links would be appreciated by all of us.

  • Dave2020

    On what evidence? You have no case.

  • Chris

    Ha! I rest my case.

  • Dave2020

    You’ll have to take that up with CW’s moderator. I replied over 3 hours ago.

  • Chris

    Sorry, Didn’t hear you!

  • Dave2020

    The most notable ones have requested anonymity, which is perfectly understandable, given BC’s track record of helping their favourites instead of the better, but more ‘independent’ athletes.

    The others; it’s my choice, but why should I tell you? None of your business. You’ll just say – “Never heard of him/her, so your methods aren’t any good.” which is just stupid.

  • Chris

    Who? Name names. I’ve not seen anyone on this forum. Links would be appreciated by all of us.

  • Dave2020

    Yes, in fact they are.

  • Chris

    “I told you before – I’ve have no interest in being a coach, but I offer advice to anyone that asks”

    No one one is asking! Shut up!

  • Dave2020

    A few points are a matter of opinion. Most of it is a simple statement of fact. Does the meaning of the word “all” escape you?

    I told you before – I’ve have no interest in being a coach, but I offer advice to anyone that asks.

    When BC stops injuring its riders, I will shut up.

  • Chris

    That is all a matter of your opinion. If you are correct then I am sure your skills would be in high demand. Are they?

  • Chris

    Perhaps David Smart can give us his qualifications in Sports Science and his relevant experience with which he bases his conclusions. I still have a 25 yards breast stroke certificate I won when I was nipper. That doesn’t qualify me to criticise the UK swimming team coaching.

  • mulga bill

    Shane Sutton proved himself, it, s what she could, nt do dave.

  • Dave2020

    Readers can judge for themselves whether it’s my opinion or an established fact.

    “Why they think squatting with a big weight on your shoulders is beneficial for your pedalling biomechanics is beyond me. No sensible sports science supports such a hypothesis and all the empirical evidence suggests it ruins efficient high-cadence (racing!) technique. Becky James described her feeling of failure in Cali as ‘pressing air’! i.e. a serious loss of co-ordination.”

    “As this was always meant to be a training camp rather than a racing trip, the team aren’t looking to taper at all ahead of this weekend’s grand prix (which will be held at the same track in Cottbus). Instead, they will hit the gym and train through to the weekend’s racing with the eye on peak conditioning for the Commonwealth Games.” – Iain Dyer, 23 June 2014. That senseless (“world class”) strategy proved to be wrong:-

    “Shane Sutton, the head of British Cycling, defended England’s poor Commonwealth Games performance on the track, revealing that his team never planned to be on peak form in Glasgow.” and “Conceding that the majority of the team were ‘still heavy’ from gym strengthening work.”

    How very odd and very unscientific, that “the gym” is considered better training than racing!! Have they taken leave of their senses? That tends to happen, whenever any ‘expert’ falls into the hubris trap of thinking their (bad) methods are infallible.

    These ‘experts’ were so embarrassed by their own public admission of failure, they prevailed on the moderator to censor the whole thread. Draw your own conclusions, people.

  • NitroFan

    I have searched the net high and low for a mention of Dave Smart in any authoritative or professional capacity in regard to cycling but the only place I find it is………………….The Cycling Weekly forum!

  • NitroFan

    Yup! Well said that man.

  • Chris

    I would tend to listen to your arguments if you prefixed them with “In my opinion”. All I am hearing is “I know best” from the Book of Smart. You should also used the word allegedly more often, because one day someone is going to sue your a*se off.

  • Dave2020

    My posts would be halved in number, if it weren’t for the need to correct the misinformation put about by comments such as yours. I’ve stated my position before, in all sincerity:-

    “My only concern is for the health of the athletes.” That’s a perfectly reasonable and worthy cause.

    Varnish is just one victim of the ill-considered BC training regime. If she returns to the squad to prepare for the 2020 Olympics and is put back on weight-lifting exercises such as squats, cleans and deadlifts, then I’d continue to offer BC’s coaches the benefit of my experience, to try to avoid a repetition of the catalogue of training injuries suffered in the past four years, and the previous four years and the four years prior to that (until they get wisdom).

  • Chris

    Still grinding the same old axe? Are you Varnish’s dad? I can’t be bothered to count the number of your postings regarding your disagreements with British Cycling and Varnish in particular. I don’t have the time. I know that BC is not perfect, but by God you come a long way second.

  • mulga bill

    I, m all for that dave, but results are never subjective in cycling.

  • Dave2020

    Sutton was the architect of his own (well-deserved) downfall. He should never have been given the post of performance director (promotion beyond his level of competence).

    Varnish did not go public with any criticism other than the TEAM qualification fiasco. Sutton announced in the press that Jess had been dropped (giving his dishonest version of why), before they told her. To quote The Telegraph:-

    “It has been spectacular, savage, unedifying. But it is fair to say that had Sutton not said what he did about Jess Varnish in an interview on April 19, none of this would have happened.”

  • Dave2020

    No, Dave Smart’s the name – just a guy who objectively looks at all the facts and can see an obvious miscarriage of justice that’s staring you in the face.

  • supong

    What the fuck bitch…please say it again. Your presence cost Shane, Now whom do you wan to sack with your presence ?

  • mulga bill

    Ha, is that you jess?

  • blemcooper

    It never crossed my mind to ask or care what you or anyone else commenting on this issue from the outside “have done for cycling”.

    The “you” refers to Varnish and how Team GB is presumably viewing this issue (which we presume because the article doesn’t actually reference the team’s position beyond hearsay attributed to Sutton).

    So I think we agree that if she’s good enough (or rather that she’s the best if it’s just one slot available), then she should be on the team.

  • Dave2020

    Go for it Jess. Sutton and Dyer don’t have a leg to stand on.

    Andy Harrison must sort out this mess. Let’s see justice for Jess and be quick about it.

  • David Bassett

    Don’t say that. You will get slaughtered. As I was by saying let her legs do the talking. And I did not even say “Varnish is on the wane or at most just maintaining form, maybe?”.

  • David Bassett

    I am sorry you did not get my point. I did not want to get involved in all the politics that has come out of all this. What I meant is if she is good enough (and I did not say she was not) then she should be on the squad. She should not be put on if it is only to feed the fire that has been fanned by the T.V.
    As of what have I done lately, nothing except enjoying riding my bike. In the past loads. So please don’t throw that one at me.

  • Rivern

    Varnish did more events than any other sprinter thus got most points. Her results in the worlds since 2014 are 4th 8th and 12th. Hasn’t made the semi finals in the sprint at world cups since Dec 2013 and only once in that time made the quarter finals! And she was only 10th at the Euros.

  • richcyclo

    Is there just the one place at Rio?
    James is on the rise again after injury, others not ready for an Olympic place and Varnish is on the wane or at most just maintaining form, maybe?

  • blemcooper

    The article states that she is the top ranked British track sprinter, but she isn’t in consideration for an individual sprint slot on the team, a slot she brought to Team GB with her legs.

    That’s saying something, though it may be “what have you done lately?”.

  • mulga bill

    As someone said, our sport is evidence based.

  • David Bassett

    Let your legs do the talking.