British Cycling inquiry denies 'whitewash' allegations

Cycling Independent Report into claims of discrimination said to have been watered down

(Image credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

An investigation into the "culture of fear" within British Cycling has been accused of a whitewash "after many criticisms contained in a draft report were removed", reports The Times.

The Cycling Independent Report (CIR) says there was a lack of "good governance" at the board of British Cycling, which failed to act over warnings of bad behaviour in 2012.

It also criticises the board for its "inappropriate" response to an inquiry held after former rider Jess Varnish claimed she had been the victim of sexism and bullying.

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"However a number of damning statements in the draft report have been removed, including that the board had been 'shocking and inexcusable' and had 'sanitised' the findings of the internal investigation into Varnish’s claims," says Martyn Ziegler of the Times. "The draft also seriously questioned whether the board were fit to govern the sport."

Ben Rumsby of the Daily Telegraph claims the official version of the report is seven pages shorter than its predecessor.

"Criticism of former performance director Sir Dave Brailsford was all but expunged, although serious accusations made against [ex-technical director Shane] Sutton - who denies using discriminatory language - remain," he says.

Rumsby adds that British Cycling last year found Sutton guilty of only one of nine charges of using discriminatory language.

The Cycling Independent Report has taken 14 months to compile after claims of discrimination from Varnish and other Olympic and Paralympic riders, says Martha Kelner in The Guardian.

The investigation was led by former British Rowing chairman Annamarie Phelps, who has denied the whitewash allegations.

However, Kelner says there have been "subtle but significant changes in the wording of the new report".

She adds: "Whereas the draft report concludes there 'was and remains a culture of fear' at the programme, the new report states 'many staff members said there was a culture of fear'."

Despite the reaction, UK Sport, "which is in the midst of a duty of care crisis in many Olympic sports, has promised to conduct a root-and-branch review of culture across the high-performance system", says the journalist.

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