Emma Pooley questions Dave Brailsford's involvement in setting up Team Sky to win the Tour de France and why there was never a similar plan to help a woman win the Giro d'Italia
Emma Pooley is the latest cyclist to add to claims of sexism within British Cycling, saying that when it came to setting up a road team there was never a plan to create a women’s one.
BC’s technical director Shane Sutton was suspended and resigned his role over allegations of discrimination, but Pooley believes Sir Dave Brailsford played his part in the alleged sexism within the senior managment.
“I think the issue is much bigger than [Sutton],” she told the Guardian. “If you’re going to ask questions of Shane Sutton you have to ask them of Dave Brailsford too.
“I wish more questions had been asked of him before he was awarded his knighthood and moved to [Team] Sky. It was when he was running British Cycling that there was no women’s Team Sky.”
She added: “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.”
Pooley insisted that the “majority” of people within British Cycling were hardworking and committed to helping athletes win medals, no matter what age, race or gender.
Sutton’s suspension came after Paralympic gold medal-winning cyclist Darren Kenny alleged that the Australian called para-cyclists “gimps” and “wobblies”.
Track sprinter Jess Varnish also alleges that Sutton told her to “go and have a baby” when her contract was not renewed on the Olympic programme. Nicole Cooke and Victoria Pendleton are others to claim that sexism is prevalent in the governing body.
Sutton denies the allegations against him, but resigned his post on Wednesday so as not to cause a distraction to the riders preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.