British Cycling to brief riders on independent review into discrimination allegations on March 1

Governing body set to tell all riders and staff “what is likely to happen next” at Manchester briefing

British Cycling's HQ in Manchester. Photo: Russ Ellis

British Cycling is set to brief its staff and riders on the results of the independent review into the culture of its elite programmes, initiated following allegations of sexism and discrimination last year, on March 1.

>>> Report into culture at British Cycling likely to be delayed until March

In an email to riders and staff chief operating officer and acting chief executive Jamie Obank said: “You will undoubtedly have been aware of recent press coverage around the Independent Review into British Cycling’s World Class Programme, and I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you on exactly where we are in the process….

“We would like to brief you as fully as we can, and to give you the opportunity to discuss the process and what is likely to happen next.

“Along with our new chair, Jonathan Browning, and a representative of UK Sport, [which co-commissioned the review] I will be hosting briefings for staff and riders on the morning of March 1.”

Obank added that the board received a draft of the review before Christmas and has since met to discuss its “contents and how it plans to respond to its findings and recommendations” on three occasions.

However, Obank also said that no date had yet been set for the publication of the full review.

Obank said the briefing would take place at the governing body’s headquarters in Manchester but that “we will be putting plans in place in due course to ensure that the relevant information gets communicated to staff and riders at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships [in Los Angeles] as efficiently as possible”.

Cycling Weekly understands the culture report is currently going through a Maxwellization process, a legal procedure in which those criticised in a report are given opportunity to respond prior to its publication.

The report comes at a time of change for the organisation and after a difficult 12 months. Over that time it has endured a UK Anti-Doping inquiry into a medical package flown to Team Sky at the Dauphiné in 2011, which is still ongoing, and multiple allegations of sexism and discrimination following track sprinter Jess Varnish bullying claims against then technical director Shane Sutton in April last year that led to the independent culture review being commissioned.

There has also been significant change in the leadership of the organisation in that time. Sutton stepped down from his post soon after Varnish’s allegations and chief executive Ian Drake announced last October he would leave in April 2017, only to then leave suddenly in January.

Last week board member Bob Howden stepped down from his role as chair, though he is maintaining his role as president. The organisation appointed former VW Group of America chief executive Jonathan Browning to take up the role of chair.

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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.