Cycling ‘sexism’ report delayed and names likely be redacted


The publication of a highly anticipated report into the culture of British Cycling, which has examined serious allegations of sexism and bullying, is likely to be delayed until next month in order to allow individuals the chance to respond.

The report, which has been described to the Guardian as being “thorough” and “admirable” by two sources, was due to be published next week after being discussed by UK Sport’s board last Wednesday. The timetable will be pushed back by at least a fortnight while lawyers ensure there is no possibility of a legal challenge. It also means it is likely to be redacted in places to ensure there is no threat of libel action from those criticised by others in the report.

The delay means the independent investigation into British Cycling, which began last April in the wake of allegations of sexism and bullying made by the sprinter Jess Varnish against the former technical director Shane Sutton, will have taken nearly 11 months to conclude.

It is understood the investigation, involving a five-person committee led by the British Rowing chairman, Annamarie Phelps, has taken a much wider scope than planned after looking into the culture at British Cycling going back to 2008.

Around 200 people were contacted by the panel and up to 60 requested personal interviews. The quantity of evidence also meant the investigation ran much longer than expected.

Varnish has alleged Sutton used sexist language towards her, including telling her to “go and have a baby” when he told her she would not be in the team for the Olympics in Rio. Other riders, including the former Olympic champions Victoria Pendleton and Nicole Cooke, backed up her claims there was a culture of sexism and bullying in British Cycling while Sutton was in charge. The Australian, who left British Cycling in April, has also been accused of calling paracyclists “wobblies” and “gimps”. He strongly denies all charges.

In December the UK Sport chair, Rod Carr, warned that if the independent review upheld bullying and sexism allegations, it could “fundamentally undermine” all the recent success. “Governance is a really important issue, whether it be Fifa or IAAF, and if there were issues in British Cycling, it fundamentally undermines everything,” Carr said. “If things are getting done in a way that we as the public think is untoward, then it’s really bad news so we take that very seriously.”

A separate UK Anti-Doping investigation, into what was in the medical package delivered to Team Sky by the British Cycling coach Simon Cope on the day Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Critérium du Dauphiné in La Toussuire in 2011, is also continuing.

Damian Collins, the chair of the culture, media and sport select committee, confirmed to the Guardian on Tuesday that Cope had agreed to speak to the committee but Collins was still trying to confirm a date he hoped would be by the end of February. Collins also confirmed Dr Richard Freeman, who administered the package, which Sir Dave Brailsford told parliament contained Fluimucil, has accepted an invitation to give evidence on 22 February.

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