British Cycling seeks Varnish talks

Jess Varnish

Jess Varnish raced in the team sprint with Victoria Pendleton at London 2012

British Cycling will contact Jess Varnish about claims by the sprinter that she was the subject of sexist comments by a senior cycling coach.

Varnish, recently dropped from the GB team after missing out on the 2016 Olympics, said in the Daily Mail that British Cycling chief Shane Sutton had told her to “go have a baby”.

Sutton has denied any wrongdoing.

British Cycling said they wanted to give Varnish, 25, the chance to discuss her concerns in full.

“We are fully committed to the principles and active promotion of equality of opportunity,” a statement from the governing body said.

“As such, we treat any such allegations with the utmost seriousness.”

Sutton added: “I wholeheartedly deny that I said or did anything other than act with complete professionalism in my dealings with Jess.”

Varnish claimed in the Daily Mail interview that when she questioned the decision to drop her she was told that she was “too old”. She also alleges that she had to listen to a “long list” of comments about her figure.

“I was told that ‘with an ass like mine I couldn’t change position within the team sprint’,” Varnish said.

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Sprinters blame bosses for Rio miss

Varnish, a world, European and Commonwealth Games medal-winner, missed out on a place in Rio after she and Katy Marchant finished fifth at last month’s World Championships.

Afterwards she appeared to criticise decisions made by British Cycling, telling BBC Sport the team “had been playing catch-up for two years after decisions that were [made] above us”.

Sutton said the decision not to renew her contract “was based on a projection of medal competitiveness at Olympic level”.

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