Shane Sutton on British Cycling: 'It's just a shame it has ended like this'

After being found guilty of using "inappropriate and discriminatory language", Sutton says he is weighing up his next steps

shane sutton, great britain, 2012
(Image credit: CJ Farquharson)

Shane Sutton says he regrets his time with British Cycling ended with a sexism scandal and says that he will continue to work with Team Sky.

On Friday, British Cycling upheld Jess Varnish's claims that Sutton used "inappropriate and discriminatory language" towards her. The ruling nixed any possible return to British Cycling for the former technical director.

"It's just a shame it has ended like this but it has been a fantastic journey, there have been fantastic people who I have worked with, some incredible athletes," he told The Telegraph. “All of them. The Hoys, the Wiggins, the Cavendish's, the Pendletons, the Cookes.”

Sutton will continue working with Team Sky as an advisor. He added that he would "probably spend more of my spare time with Dave [Brailsford] and the guys."

British Cycling suspended its successful director Sutton just 100 days before the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Jess Varnish said that Sutton told her to "go away and have a baby" when refusing to renew her place in the team.

Varnish made the remarks after she and Katy Marchant failed in the World Championships to earn Great Britain a team sprint spot in the Olympics. She was then cut from the British Cycling elite programme.

Jason Kenny Shane Sutton British pits 2014 track world championships

Jason Kenny and Shane Sutton in the British pits, 2014 track world championships
(Image credit: Casey B Gibson)

Sutton said that cutting her was "purely for performance reasons" and not due to the criticism she made of the coaching staff.

"I'm adamant that I am innocent," he said. "I have definitely never overstepped the mark with Jess Varnish or any other athlete."

Sutton is unsure what step he will take next. There has been speculation that he could take his knowledge of years leading Great Britain gold medals to rival teams.

“There’s nothing to alarm anyone there,” Sutton added. “Everyone asks me that but there really isn’t that much to share [with rivals]. Good coaching, good periodisation, keep it simple. But who knows, if I do move I may try to entice a few [of the staff] with me.

"It's possibly time now to have a look at a few of them [the approaches]. I am actually in discussions with some people right now, which has happened virtually overnight. That's about all I can say at the moment."

As head coach, the nation’s cyclists won eight gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Games and in the 2012 London Games.

Wiggins and other cyclists defended Sutton after Varnish’s claims. He said that he still could still coach some on an individual basis.

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.