Peter Kennaugh has apologised for his tweets on Thursday that criticised Emma Pooley's claims of sexism at British Cycling

Peter Kennaugh has issued an apology over two tweets he sent on Thursday which criticised Emma Pooley’s claims of discrimination within British Cycling.

Kennaugh briefly suspended his Twitter account having deleting the messages shortly after sending them. In one of them he told Pooley to “stop being so self centred”.

In his apology, Kennaugh said he realised he “came across like a total idiot”.

Pooley, who has recently returned to road racing, questioned why a team was not set up to help her win the women’s Giro d’Italia – where she twice finished second – but there was a men’s team set up in an attempt to win the Tour de France.

Kennaugh, 26, questioned why Sky would financially back a project for a race that “absolutely no one in the UK has absolutely no idea about”.

The Manxman swiftly got rid of his tweets, but not before several Twitter users had taken screenshots. Later on Thursday afternoon, the British champion suspended his account on the social media site after a wave of criticism but returned to make his apology.

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British Cycling is currently embroiled in a discrimination scandal, which includes allegations of sexism and discrimination against para-cyclists.

Kennaugh rode under the British Cycling programme at London 2012, where he won gold in the team pursuit on the track and has been part of Team Sky since it was established in 2010.

Pooley questioned why Sir Dave Brailsford wasn’t being mentioned in allegations of sexism – which mainly revolve around former BC technical director Shane Sutton – as he played a key role in setting up Team Sky.

She told the Guardian: “Why didn’t anyone ask how it could be that a publicly funded body like British Cycling joined together with a privately funded team – Sky – on a mission to get a British winner of the Tour de France within five years?

“Why wasn’t there a similar plan for the women? The women’s Giro d’Italia was the most important race for women but where was the funding for that? I came second twice and no one from British Cycling offered to put together a team to help me win it.”

  • Don’t think you understand how evidence leads to conclusions independent of opinion either.

  • elan

    Probably the only time that a Brit would win a Giro,and it could be a female.We have some great female cyclists in the UK.

  • Box o biscuits

    The tour was better before sky

  • KarlRoche

    You seem to comment on many threads on this and a number of cycling sites, so you must be finding some value in journalism. Every product any of us have ever bought has been through marketing, even if it is just within a shop.

  • BikeRideMike

    No, what I’m saying is that the argument is flawed in that it’s not dealing with the root problem. The underriding issue of sexism in cycling doesn’t lie with BC, it lies with sponsors, broadcasters and ultimately the viewing figures. Women’s cycling is trapped in a catch 22, what Kennaugh is saying is that it doesn’t make commercial sense when the exposure isn’t there for sponsors.

  • Roger Comstock

    Good point. Advertising is, by definition, making the public aware of something they were not previously aware of.

  • Chris

    What have you heard that is good from journalism or marketing? Bad or salacious news from the former and cr&p from the latter. Likewise if this thread is an example of communication, then none of us stand a chance!

  • ummm…

    are we talkng about BC cycling or womens pro elite road/mtb cycling/ giro feminina etc.?

  • Riggah

    ‘Misogyny’, a word now used as an insult against those who mount solid, credible arguments against feminists and their sympathisers.

  • johnemel

    Yes men do mean money. As pointed out by others British Cycling is a PUBLIC-FUNDED BODY, so should be focusing on things other than helping a private organisation (Sky) make a load more money,

  • tas9

    …in your opinion

  • KarlRoche

    Well that would put an end to all journalism, marketing and communications.

  • Chris

    It’s the same the whole world over! Women’s road race, Tour of Utah 2016, cancelled, lack of interest.

  • Jon

    Are you arguing that it’s for any British organisation to raise awareness of an Italian Race

    There should be a women’s team as I’d argue they’re results deserve it more.

    No place for sexism but at the end of the day this all comes back to funding it & how much money they can extract from sponsors to fund.

  • Riggah

    Kennaugh is objectively a better athlete than Wayne Rooney, but is paid far less, simply because he is a cyclist. See how it works?

  • tony365

    He is missing the point, he was right to apologize though

  • tony365

    Totally

  • blemcooper

    Yep, and there is a difference between commercial sponsors and commercial media doing what they do (or don’t do / ignore), vs publicly funded monopolies (British Cycling) that do (and should) have different obligations.

  • Somebloke

    This seems to be going the way of a David Cameron Panama paper denial. Has Peter Kennaugh actually apologised to Emma Pooley or has he just apologised to anybody offended by his inability to string a sentence together? His first tweet took the words “womens’ team Sky” at face value, rather than as “womens’ equivalent to team Sky” (which would have been clear had he read the next paragraph of the interview) and his second tweet was just plain offensive. Apologise properly Peter – it only gets worse if you fudge it.

  • Simon Barnes

    Just maybe Sky could fund the womens giro as they own the largest pay tv platform there….Sky Italia.

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    Much as I like Emma and Nicole – and think that BC has a case to answer – it has to be said that some of us well remember when cycling in the UK was little more than a marginalised backwater. Decades of being rubbished by the bloody BBC and crap newspapers like the Mail and Mirror, we struggled for even the most basic respect and recognition. Even now a British rider could win a race like the Milan – San Remo and it still wouldn’t get on the BBC TV evening news. Some of our female riders need to remember this, cycling as a whole is still struggling for full respect in the UK even now. I want what you want – but things are still evolving and developing. Things are better now than they were back even just 5 years ago.

    Also the issues affecting women’s cycling are worldwide, it isn’t just about BC. It wasn’t the right time for Sky to start a women’s team back in 2010, but I’ve been very disappointed they haven’t done so since. Hopefully it WILL happen at some point.

    As one or two other posters have already pointed out, we must be careful not to let some corners of the UK media rubbish our sport all over again. Jess – yes, I’m with you about Sutton – but you should have gone to the Guardian like Nicole did, not the Daily Fail.

  • Weccy

    She certainly has a point. Disappointed in Kennaugh & for that matter G Thomas joining in. Suppose they feel the need to back up what is essentially a Sky coaching squad inside GB squad.

  • Johnny

    I’m sorry you feel that way. Have a great Friday/weekend

  • eminusx

    quite right, if BC are espousing one thing to the public and clearly operating under a different set of rules then the girls are right to pull them up on it and should be fully supported. I hope this will become clear over the next few weeks.

  • Wun Fung Chan

    this is an interesting analogy – the test drive/trial – and i have sympathy for it. it sits less well with bc’s remit/aims, however – their talk is of ‘our commitment to the principles and active promotion of equality of opportunity’. indeed, pooley’s point was that she and other female bc members didn’t have a similar opportunity to the men.

  • John

    Riggah, Armitstead is objectively a better athlete than Kennaugh, but is paid far less, simply because she is a woman. So yes, Johnny’s point is valid.

  • John

    Yes, and one of the big reasons for that is that sponsors, media and governing bodies choose to ignore women’s racing. Pooley’s comments are a small part of the cure, so applaud her…

  • John

    All good points, well made.

  • No you clearly demonstrated that you have no idea what it means by your statement.

  • Stevo

    I didn’t say I didn’t understand it; I didn’t know what point you were making. And it is patently untrue that “nobody” was interested or that “we” were all “sad acts” before 2012.

    Are people putting down the girls? Until a couple of days ago women’s racing seemed – deservedly – to be getting a lot of positive press. This episode looks to me like a case of somebody expressing an opinion before thinking things through; it’s not exactly the crime of the century.

    If people didn’t post anything on Twatter they would save themselves a lot of trouble. And journalists would have to write proper stories again.

  • Leodis75

    No one is putting down women racing, they are saying bitching and moaning then demanding money which isn’t their through lack of crowds won’t win support.

  • Alex

    Is this the right place for an argument? I love a good argument!

  • marco

    If women are so interested with parity with the men, the simple answer is let them race against the men and prove they are equal, not just in cycling but in all the sports where they complain they dont receive the same rewards

  • ummm…

    can you clarify where you think the misogyny is? for the sake of clarity.

  • ummm…

    lol maybe. but even if i regret saying something I dont get to turn around an say i didnt intend it and have it erased. maybe he hadn’t thought about it enough.

  • tas9

    You have your point, but I think that what he wrote wasn’t exactly an argument, and that’s why he deleted it. We know what he thinks about the issue, but he instantly regretted to have made it public so in a sense it shouldn’t be considered as a full intended statement, in my opinion.

  • Chris

    I have just been reading some of your previous posts. How do you deal with all that self hate? You can be as rude as you like since I won’t be bothering to read your reply and certainly won’t be wasting my time answering.

  • tas9

    So you assume that I don’t know what PC means, I suppose that this kind of assumptions about people you don’t actually know is what you call ‘treating people with respect’…

  • ummm…

    lo. instead of answering my points you call me a troll. i thought you had more integrity.

  • KarlRoche

    You’re basically arguing that because people are unaware of something it is isn’t worth telling them about it.

  • Johnny

    I always find the more people try to put you down, the less they like themselves 🙂

  • Chris

    Give your Dad back his computer.

  • Johnny

    Its rare to meet a troll on these threads. Hiya troll.

  • Yet another person using the tired and as usual not even irrelevant ‘not PC’ nonsense argument without having any idea what it actually means.
    Try replacing the term PC with ‘treating people with respect’ as that is what it means in layman terms.

  • It’s telling that you had to explain such a simple observation for the hard of thinking Johnny.

  • ummm…

    lol

  • ummm…

    yeah i hope so to! ride safely!

  • ummm…

    no not new for me. But i dont know if it is as well known as you assume. maybe well known by fanboys of road, but that is a small group in the grand scheme.

  • Johnny

    Agreed! Right, now back to work…

  • Johnny

    I’m assuming it’s new information for you – fair enough.

  • eminusx

    yeah, its a testy moment in British Cycling which could escalate rapidly, and I can see a few fingers getting burnt if it gets a bit too emotionally charged. I think everybody would love to see womens cycling become a success and the girls get what they deserve, however there is a real point to be made about funding mechanisms, even if Kennaugh was a little ham-fisted in his approach.

  • Johnny

    If you don’t understand it then you can’t possibly know it was ‘patently wrong’.

    I mean that until recently, cycling wasn’t mainstream for most people. So I find it strange that now the men’s team is big they’re putting down the girls. I can’t understand the mentality behind that, especially since the glory is relatively new. And especially since Emma Pooley is an elite athlete…

    I just think that Kennaugh needs to grow up and get behind the sport. It’s about more than just money, and he’s being a brat. I’d imagine that he realised this himself TBH – he did take down the tweet!

  • eminusx

    No you’re absolutely right, there does have to be a trial period, otherwise, how do you know youre not overlooking a genuine sea-change. I think the recent growth and visibility may be significant in attracting sponsors and ‘benefactors’ who are willing to invest, lets hope so.

  • Johnny

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Johnny

    OK then.

  • Johnny

    Nahhh I know hahaha. So my point was poorly made. I just mean that until recently, cycling wasn’t mainstream for most people. So I find it strange that now the men’s team is big they’re putting down the girls. I can’t understand the mentality behind that, especially since the glory is relatively new. And especially since Emma Pooley is an elite athlete…

  • Stevo

    I doubt it. What you wrote is patently wrong. God knows what point you were trying to make.

  • ummm…

    right, but even so you have to have a trial period. I think with womens sport it is always an uphill battle for many reasons. What if women dont even watch women sports etc etc. Just because men do something doesn’t mean that women should get to do the same thing with the same results. However, we shouldnt close the doors JUST because this is about women. Not saying that you believe such.

  • eminusx

    hahaha just teasin’ 🙂

    but seriously, ive never felt uncool or remotely bothered wearing my cycling kit over the years, I couldnt give a monkeys what the general public thinks, I see far more horrendous eyesores in the street on a daily basis.

  • eminusx

    yeah thats true, it does make sense to do a bit of homework before hand and see if the potential is there, particularly where there is a lot of money involved and there isnt as significant an appetite as with the mens races.

  • Johnny

    I know you are… but what am I?!

  • Johnny

    I think if you give it some thought you can work it out.

  • ummm…

    forget the PC stuff. You have an argument then it needs to stand up to scrutiny. his couldn’t.

  • ummm…

    interesting. however, you dont get the full experience of the car until you drive it for a bit.

  • ummm…

    yeah the argument is too simplistic. requires more scrutiny. i think he did himself a disservice.

  • ummm…

    because women race hard! because a break is a break! because im a man and i like to see powerful sexy women win!

  • ummm…

    ha! annoying usually, but brings some lightness to the conversation in this case.

  • such a shame that all of this tension has been allowed to simmer for so long. and maybe we (cyclist / cycling fans) are too blame too – we’ve happily basked in the glory of the success of Team GB, Sky, etc, and loved the fact that our beloved sport is so popular. But the problems were there to be seen if we scratched the surface, but nobody wanted to. And now – 100 days out!! – the start of huge in-fighting between our stars, coaches, and cycling admin – what a real shame. I really hope that every issue can be addressed – quickly but sincerely – problems fixed – and move forward to an even brighter future for all involved in the sport.

  • ummm…

    dont worry you aren’t on it until they tell you you are apparently, according to your logic. im guessing nobody has given you the memo that you are.

  • ummm…

    has no point

  • ummm…

    sorry buddy. i dont need people to know about my hobby in order for me to have my dignity.

  • ummm…

    ah lol, id say you are assuming that as well.

  • ummm…

    where is your study showing “most people know”?

  • ummm…

    not a terrible point. However, the male divison makes money. Not sure if the female division does. Lets hope this can be remedied. However, it is not JUST BECAUSE he is a man. It is because men mean money, at the moment .

  • ummm…

    it isn’t about man enough. it is about how the subject is framed. his argument, while it may contain nuggets of truth, is not welcome within the current dialogue framework. I think that this is a limitation for both sides of the issue.

  • ummm…

    doesn’t mean they can’t invest and make it known. A compelling athlete like Armistead is what could really do that trick.

  • ummm…

    it could be. it just takes money and compelling athletes. Armistead is really compelling. They could invest in womens cycling and it could work. nothing says that it CANT.

  • ummm…

    uh oh. His stance while a valid argument isn’t looking towards MAKING the race relevant. Additionally, I am not aware of her “self centeredness” but maybe he is. However, that is a BIG statement by him.

  • he may have been ‘advised’ to remove them?

  • eminusx

    omg. . . youre like, such a square!

  • Somebloke

    This is not a fair fight. Peter Kennaugh’s tweet reminds me of an old comment by the American motorcyclist John Kocinski – “If you ain’t American, you ain’t sh*t”. I think Dr Pooley has set a little dinosaur trap and judging by the comments below (and on the original story), Peter Kennaugh is not the only one to fall into it. It’s like reading Borat’s guide to women.
    The point she makes is that public money was used to help Sky further the grand aim of a tdf winner, but no attempt was made to find a sponsor for the female equivalent. In short, all the public money was spent by the boys, on the boys. The sponsor needn’t have been Sky but, as Nicole Cooke pointed out, they’re quite happy to see their logo plastered all over UK women when they’re winning gold.
    No doubt, there will be people saying they wouldn’t have found a sponsor, but Emma’s point is that it wasn’t even on the agenda. I think using herself as the ‘example’ female was just the bait and there seem to be no end of people lining up here to show off their misogyny/stupidity. I do hope McLaren are now busily designing their women-specific bikes – they’ve only 99 days left – I’m sure Sky will want to foot the bill.

  • eminusx

    sadly, as you might have suspected, ive no idea. . . but, the past few years have been all about building up the womens tour, additional sponsorship, broader coverage, better connection with the Mens Tour. I hope this culminates in BC deciding to support the creation of a womens team. It might not, but we dont know they arent currently studying the feasibility of such an idea. . its certainly a more palatable prospect than 6 years ago

  • Johnny

    What’s a cool-o-meter?

  • Jdog

    So BC are now going to assist in properly funding a women’s team only 6(?) years after the test drive of the men’s team. Is that what you’re saying?

  • Johnny

    Sorry – most cyclists know that it does. My bad.

  • eminusx

    have you ever bought a car without taking it for a test drive? Its nice to know that it works before you pay in full.

  • eminusx

    wow, sucks to be in constant thrall of Joe Publics ‘cool-o-meter’

  • eminusx

    Its more to do with appetite, and sadly in the case of womens cycling although it is growing somewhat, the publics appetite simply isnt as great or doesnt attract the same revenue, ask Liz Armitstead who is at the top of the tree. This could never detract from their enormous talent, and it doesnt make it right, but it is true.

    Also, lets not forget that business is central to spectator sports, this is also sad but true. I do feel this is overlooked at times and this is evident in Pooleys recent comments. Like any Business, Sky wanted to test the water before committing, thats their prerogative.

  • BikeRideMike

    No they don’t. That’s the route problem.

  • Stevo

    What was your point then?

  • Stevo

    Speak for yourself.

  • Riggah

    Are YOU kidding? “PURELY BECAUSE HE’S A MAN”? You left out the words ‘fastest’ and ‘British Champion’. Millions of non-cyclists LOVE watching the sport and many are avid fans of the top (male) riders.

  • Johnny

    He didn’t say it was dull. He told a fellow athlete to get over herself, simply because she was highlighting the difference in funding between men and women.

  • Johnny

    Not my point.

  • tas9

    He deleted his comment because it wasn’t PC. Normally when you speak your mind it isn’t PC, but I fail to understand why you should be prosecuted and bullied because you say what you think, even if it is not PC. Isn’t that a new kind of discrimination?

  • Wun Fung Chan

    As Kennaugh should know, it wasn’t just Sky putting up the funding. It was backed by BC – a publicly funded organisation which aims to turn the UK into a ‘cycling nation’ – or should that be half the UK?

  • khisanth

    The cycling clubs across the country would beg to differ. My dad would watch the tour de france religiously every year and he didnt even cycle. I would watch it when it was on also.

  • khisanth

    Yes

  • bowwow rapha

    Peter cudden even win the junior giro, he’s not good enuff Z.

  • kingscross

    If people think women’s cycling is dull, why shouldn’t they say so?

  • Mark Jones

    I agree and if they’re not careful they will receive equal pay when sponsors pull out of British cycling teams and races and they’re all out of a job.

  • VELOGUY

    Yeah all this infighting, will result in a drop of interest for the sport. Much of what I heard/read need not have been been aired for public consumption. Thats a pity.

  • JB

    Ok, maybe my comment was phrased inaccurately. What my point is, is that since Sky was founded and Wiggo won the Tour, the sport (and the number of people following it) has exploded.
    Why shouldn’t that be the same for Women’s cycling? They’re incredible athletes themselves, and deserve to be rewarded for it.

  • Mark Jones

    Well done to Cycling Weekly and everyone involved who are trying to get us back to the days of 20 minute highlights of the TdF.

  • Paul

    The double-negative in his first tweet infers that everyone knows everything about the womens giro.

  • Johnny

    Most people know that it does, yes.

  • Johnny

    The comments on this page read terribly for the sport. Just remember that up until 2012, nobody gave a toss about men’s or women’s cycling in the UK, and we were all just lycra wearing sad acts.

  • Johnny

    Are you kidding? This is a rider who’d reaped the benefits of funding PURELY BECAUSE HE’S A MAN. The truth is that no one outside the insular group of cycling either knows or cares about the sport (most actively avoid conversations with ‘proper cyclists’), so we, as cyclists should be pulling one another up, not pushing each other down.

  • Gary Jogela

    Yes

  • Shinichi0831

    Women’s giro existed?! Never knew.

  • JB

    But before Sky was founded were there that many people that cared about the Tour?

  • BikeRideMike

    Agreed, barely anyone outside of cycling has even heard of the Giro D’Italia, let alone that there’s a women’s race.

  • Riggah

    Disappointed that Peter is seemingly not man enough to stand by his comments, epecially as what he stated is actually true. But I do understand that the entitled generation is often offended by the truth.

  • Gazzaputt

    He’s right in his comment. Fact is womens cycling will never be as popular as the men.

    Toss up between a British TDF winner and British woman winning Giro? C’mon get real.

  • Robin

    Good luck having an intellectual battle about gender parity in sport with Pooley, Kennaugh.