Shane Sutton steps down from his role as technical director for Team GB, saying the riders need to be able to prepare for Rio 2016 free of distraction

Following his suspension over allegations of discrimination, British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton has resigned his role.

The Australian said his decision was to allow the riders to prepare for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – which are 100 days away – free from distraction.

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

Andy Harrison, programmes director at British Cycling, will take over Sutton’s role with immediate effect in the build-up to the Olympics.

“It is absolutely crucial that, as our athletes begin their final preparations for Rio, they are able to do so free of distraction,” Sutton said in a statement.

“The developments over the past few days have clearly become a distraction. 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.

“It is important that the review announced by British Cycling and UK Sport now takes place, and I will obviously co-operate fully with this. 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.

“Cycling is my passion and I have always worked to get the very best out of professional athletes. I am proud of what British Cycling has achieved and I am excited by the potential of the team for Rio. They will always have my full support.”

>>> Suspended British Cycling coach Shane Sutton ‘upset’ by discrimination allegations

Ian Drake, British Cycling chief executive, confirmed that the internal investigation into the allegations made against Sutton by Jess Varnish, Darren Kenny and others, will go ahead.

“I want to put on record my thanks to Shane for his work with British Cycling and the part he has played in our success. We have a lot to be proud of and, with the Olympics and Paralympics this summer, a lot to look forward to,” he said.

“As we announced [on Tuesday], we are now putting in place an independent review with UK Sport so that we can investigate the allegations that have been raised in recent days about the culture within the Great Britain Cycling Team. We continue to be committed to promoting equality of opportunity and providing a supportive environment within British Cycling.”

  • ummm…

    haha i probably deserve a couple of those as well.

  • NitroFan

    And of course Pendleton had no axe to grind did she!

  • NitroFan

    Loud Mouth Chancer! Why are you commenting on cycling when you clearly know nothing about the sport and this mans achievements? Shane Sutton is a legend a few bitter PC obsessed little people will never tarnish his achievements. BC have made a HUGE error that will be proven in Rio.

  • NitroFan

    Political Correctness – Sour Grapes – Old Scores being settled (you do not have to be a racket scientist to know who!)…….. the result?
    Great Britain loses one of the great coaches, my BC membership is up in 30 days will need to think long and hard this time round if I want to waste my money.

  • Diggersdiggers

    Maybe we should look at the gains in equality over the past 10 years and be proud of the movement forward. Impatience seems to only fuels anger and division within opposing groups….lets be peaceful and move forward together…. or we can just bicker and snipe at each other like any other group!…To me Shane was a cyclist, not perfect but a cyclist among cyclist’s…he lived and breathed to help cyclist Chappo Cobber!!

  • dourscot

    Confirmation bias – you’re noticing criticism that backs up your viewpoint.

    Meanwhile, several other female cyclists (Joanna Rowsell for instance) and a clutch of big name male riders have defended Sutton. Perhaps he had favourites but this clearly divides opinion.

  • dourscot

    Virtually all?!

    Several female cyclists have defended Sutton and British Cycling. Presumably the fact that British women’s cycling has achieved more under Sutton and Brailsford than in its entire history has something to do with that.

    Cooke and Pooley’s justified criticism is much more about the status of women’s cycling rather than simply Sutton and British Cycling.

  • David Bassett

    Who was the only one that stood up for Victoria when her husband then coach was sacked.

  • David Bassett

    Pray tell me which country has been better than the UK at track cycling since Shane and Brailsford have been in charge.


    Bring in fresh management talent, shake up the system, British cycling and sports science as a whole needs to embrace change, move with the times and root out cheating & corruption.

  • Dave2020

    “There was everything to look forward to for the Bromsgrove rider until one day an injury picked up in the gym in Manchester changed all that. After suffering a damaged disc in her back, Varnish was faced with the unenviable choice of complete rest or extensive surgery. I don’t want surgery on my back at the age of 22.” Who can blame her? It is the fault of her coaches, if the last three years were a little disappointing.

    Scott Gardner, performance science consultant to British Cycling has said; “cycling is a non-impact sport. The only time you put large loads through the muscles is in the gym.” Any BC coaches who lack the competence to devise a scientific strength training regime that never causes injury should have their contracts terminated. I designed and built my own cycling-specific gym apparatus 45 years ago, as a better alternative to lifting 500lbs on a leg press. Squats are for dummies.

    I warned Jamie Staff and Iain Dyer in 2009 that their ‘brute-force-and-ignorance’ methods were far too damaging and offered BC similar equipment (gratis) to de-risk the gym training. They turned down my offer and told me their expertise was “world class”! Jamie retired soon after because his back couldn’t take any more punishment. BC need to make a list of the injuries suffered and weigh it up against the list of medals. It’s a terrible trade-off. The coaches are wrong. I never injured myself, because I knew what I was doing.

  • EDF

    That doesn’t mean he has never given a sexist comment. Most people act differently in public. Many sexists nastier side will come out if a women is independent, strong willed or doesn’t get along with them.

  • EDF

    No other country in the world ever had the UKs massive resources in cycling. But you must consider virtually all of Britain’s successful female cyclists have left with negative words about how GB runs it’s shop and feelinsg of misstreatment. Particularly strong personalities like Pendleton, Cooke, Pooley for example. I am guessing we are finally seeing some of what they have referenced

  • Weccy

    Sorry gave you a down arrow by mistake

  • Knipfty

    For the Brazilians…

  • llos25

    No other country in the world has such a person and many countries have been far more successful in all disciplins.

  • David Bassett

    I think it is laughable that Shane can be called sexist when it was him that stuck his neck out for Victoria Pendleton. He may be a rough diamond but he is very fare.

  • David Bassett

    I bet you have never achieved much and so like to put others down. Shane has always been down to earth and truefull to riders.

  • Chris

    I have just been reading Chris Boardman’s palmares. I would be grateful if you could list yours. I am always keen to learn from an expert,

  • Chris

    I’m sorry, I didn’t realise that you had first hand experience of his training sessions. Perhaps you should apply for his job, since you are so obviously capable of doing a far better job! Do you think you are suitably qualified? LOUDMOUTH!

  • Leodis75

    That foul mouth chancer gave the UK its first Tour winner

  • llos25

    Perhaps the head will be replaced with one that knows what it is doing instead of a loud mouthed chancer.

  • llos25

    I do not think so I think we are in for some fabulous cycling .

  • Chris

    The head has been chopped off and now the chickens will be running every which way. I am not holding my breath for our Olympic prospects, but I wish them luck!

  • Dave2020

    Sutton made the right decision and quickly, but his position was untenable. The danger now is that BC will only deal with the discrimination issues and forget how it all started. Sutton and Iain Dyer both claim that Varnish wasn’t given a contract renewal because of her poor performance! That’s hardly credible. If they both refused to allow even Jess to see the data, it’s a stitch-up.

    BC must immediately reinstate Jess with a new contract and allow her to pursue training methods outside of the BC regime which has caused far too many injuries in the squad. Most notably, to Jess herself over 3 years ago. Dyer and other coaches within BC are responsible for the prolapsed disc she suffered. She was only following their bad advice. That type of injury is a chronic problem for any athlete, but even more so in a bullying environment where coaches labour under the delusion that you can’t sprint, if you don’t lift big weights!! This idiocy is ingrained in the system.

    To quote Chris Boardman – “Lap one is just weight-lifting!” Never in your life.

  • gjh

    No it won’t!

  • Alex

    None of us know the full story so it’s best to keep quiet and let the investigarion take it’s course. The truth always comes out in the end.

  • Leodis75

    Rio will be a disaster.

  • dourscot

    You ever been accused of something? Presumably, you’d want a fair hearing.

    Pretty empty comment.

  • Gooner

    That sort of aggressive remark makes you look bad rather then the so called apologists. As one who can’t take the other view and has to insult the other view. Also as a bully like so many on similisr forums.I suggest the i person is actually you for the reasons mentioned.

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    Should that not have been a private conversation in the first place?

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    How noble! Always putting others first.

  • dayle

    I was sat 2 yards away from SS and Dani King at the manchester velodrome when he cut her from the pursuit squad. He was professional and matter of fact at the start of the conversation and then he switched to uncle shane when it was clear that Dani was crushed by the news. He was kind and offered his advice on what her next move could be. People forget that coach and athlete have built up a relationship over the many years spent training and travelling together. In my opinion he is a top man and should not be treated like this after all his sacrifice for british cycling which is dont forget one of the shining beacons of UK Sport that we are all proud of

  • ummm…

    are there people defending him as a viable candidate to continue in managment. I think many people were reacting to his tar and feathering for uttering words that some people seemed offensive. I think it disqualifies him as a task manager, but does it mean that his words should be censored?

    It is difficult to defend Shane, and I wont bother doing that. However, it is also difficult to extrapolate the cycling is riddled with sexism by virtue of his actions to both male and female athletes.

  • Chris Williams

    Gosh – that whole thing blew up quick and finished even quicker….

  • William

    He did the best thing, resign. It is all about political correctness. As he said, he won’t make it a distraction for the athletes. That’s all it is, a distraction.

  • dougles

    Thanks Shane for making all of your apologists on this site look like the idiots they apparently are.