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Shane Sutton exclusive: British Cycling review will exonerate me

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Shane Sutton tells Sky Sports News HQ his name will be cleared by a review of British Cycling

Shane Sutton is determined to clear his name after resigning as British Cycling technical director in the wake of allegations of sexist and derogatory behaviour towards riders.

Speaking for the first time since stepping down in April, Sutton told Sky Sports News HQ that he felt his reputation had been tarnished by the claims, which he strongly refutes.

The 58-year-old Australian has pointed to a forthcoming independent review into the culture of British Cycling, which he is confident will exonerate him from what he sees as damaging accusations.  

Shane Sutton British Cycling
Image: Sutton has been accused of sexism, discrimination and bullying

Track sprinter Jess Varnish sparked the issue earlier this year when she publicly claimed Sutton told her to "go and have a baby" after she was dropped from British Cycling's Olympic programme.

Sutton stands by his argument that he never spoke with Varnish and also denied referring to Paralympic cyclists as "wobblies" and "gimps", as was reported in the press during a week Chris Boardman described as an unfair trial by the media.

Shane Sutton, British Cycling
Image: Sutton took over as technical director of British Cycling in 2014

"There has been some long nights, plenty of phone calls and, yeah, dark times," Sutton said. "Sure, people will question this and my integrity throughout, but I think I've kept my integrity.

"I've not spoken to anybody about the matter, I've had great support from everybody [and] continued liaising with all the people that I brought to British Cycling over the last two years.

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"I know this review process will definitely exonerate me from all of this."

Sutton quits British Cycling
Sutton quits British Cycling

Shane Sutton resigned as British Cycling's technical director after discrimination allegations

Sutton was promoted to technical director in 2014 as a replacement for Sir David Brailsford and implemented a number of changes, including coaching personnel. Next month's Rio Olympics would have been his first as head of British Cycling.

Sutton added: "I made some big decisions, I think I got the best out of the people around me at the time I was in charge there. Anything I would have done differently? No. I can't say I have any regrets at all in the way I acted or conducted myself as technical director.

Shane Sutton British Cycling technical director
Image: Sutton is confident his name will be cleared

"Taking over from Dave was never going to be easy. You're talking about the greatest leader definitely in British sport. They don't get any better."

Sutton worked for British Cycling for almost two decades. He does not think his departure, or the turmoil the federation has recently weathered, will affect British riders' performances on the road or track in Rio.

Brailsford: No sexism at BC
Brailsford: No sexism at BC

Sir Dave Brailsford has said he would be happy for his daughter to join British Cycling

Speaking of team selection, he said not all of the decisions were concurrent with what he would have authorised, but he has faith in the process.

"There will be big decisions that will need to be made in there," he said. "I think they've got their mojo back. They got it in London [at March's World Championships] and I think they'll be successful.

Sir Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton worked closely together at British Cycling
Image: Sutton succeeded Sir Dave Brailsford (left) as head of British Cycling

"I wish them all well. A lot of people probably think that I'm wearing green and gold [of Australia] now, but that's definitely not the case."

Sutton has outlined plans to stay in cycling, which he described as his "life".

Jess Varnish has received support from some other GB riders
Image: Jess Varnish has received support from some other GB riders

In response to Sutton's interview Varnish tweeted: "I wanted to shine a light on the culture of fear at British Cycling, and I'm glad that numerous other riders and staff came forward to share their experiences.

"I have spoken with and shared information and evidence with both British Cycling and UK Sport and co-operated in their respective investigations which are still due to be published.

"Therefore I don't think it would be responsible or fair to comment further around this matter until these investigations have had a chance to run their course."

See the full and exclusive interview with Shane Sutton On Demand.

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