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‘I was loved by British Cycling staff’ – ex

Shane Sutton (right) with Sir Chris Hoy

Shane Sutton was part of the coaching set up at British Cycling which saw Sir Chris Hoy become one of Great Britain’s most successful Olympians

Former British Cycling coach Shane Sutton says he is still “loved by the staff” at the organisation.

The Australian left his technical director role in April 2016 following bullying and discrimination allegations, and an inquiry found he operated within a “culture of fear”.

He is back at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester as head coach of China for the Track Cycling World Cup

“The reception’s been a bit overwhelming,” he told BBC Sport.

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“That’s been a bit tough to take because it brings all the memories back,” added the 60-year-old, who spent 14 years with British Cycling and took on his new role just last month.

“People criticise me from a distance but when you get down here into the nitty gritty of the day to day I was pretty much loved by the staff, I’ve treated them well and that’s shown in the reception I’ve had.

“It’s nice to hear them saying you’re being missed.”

Sutton was cleared of eight of nine allegations in an internal investigation following the initial complaints from cyclist Jess Varnish.

But a complaint that he used sexist language towards her – that he used the word “bitches” – was upheld.

Varnish is now suing British Cycling and UK Sport.

A later independent inquiry led by British Rowing chair Annamarie Phelps found there were cultural failings at British Cycling and was also critical of Sutton.

A key finding was that many staff feared possible retribution or even losing their jobs for speaking out.

British Cycling, which has implemented a 39-point action plan relating to cultural and ethical standards in its world class programme, has apologised for its failings and earlier this month chairman Jonathan Browning announced he was standing down.

But, on Saturday, Sutton was critical of the outcome of the reports and said: “That’s just people probably trying to build their own empire.

“Until you’re in the pit and know what’s going on I don’t really think you can make decisions that they’ve made.

“The review process is not what many perceive here.

“And the reception I’ve had here shows that.”

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‘Overwhelming reception’ for Sutton on return

Former performance director Sir Dave Brailsford – now Team Sky boss – worked alongside Sutton and was forced to defend himself over the claims he had been part of “dysfunctional” system at British Cycling.

Brailsford joined the body in 2003 – a year after Sutton – leading them to two cycling gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games, and eight in both 2008 and 2012.

“One of the great leaders of world sport, and he comes in for criticism – and it’s totally unjustified,” said Sutton.

And when asked about the “bitches” comment that ultimately saw him leave British Cycling, Sutton said: “People don’t know the circumstances where I used that comment.

“It was used as a general comment – a couple of people playing up on the day. That’s not actually going up to an athlete and saying you are a ‘whatever’. That wasn’t the case. I think people need to know that.

“At the end of the day I can sleep of a night. I’ve got no problem with it all.”

However, he appeared critical over Varnish’s decision to take legal action against the organisation.

Varnish was dropped from British Cycling’s elite roster last year and when asked about legal action being taken Sutton said: “I think it’s just someone trying to keep a profile.

“There’s a very small athletic profile there so if you can get yourself in the media: fantastic.

“But for me it’s all done and dusted and I just wish British Cycling all the best going forward, because the majority of them don’t forget I brought them here.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/41956761

UK Sport chief Grainger disappointed by Sutton comments

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Dame Katherine Grainger tells Dan Roan she knew ‘very few people who had TUEs’ when she was rowing

UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger is “surprised and disappointed” after former Team Sky and British Cycling coach Shane Sutton said riders legally used banned drugs to “find the gains”.

Sutton told a BBC Two documentary on Sunday that he and his riders “never crossed the line” in their use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs).

Grainger, an Olympic gold medal-winning rower, said: “I don’t know any athlete who would want to go near TUEs for any reason other than if it was necessary from a medical point of view.

In Cycling’s Superheroes; The Price of Success, Sutton was asked in which circumstances he would have applied for a TUE to get permission for a rider to use a prohibited drug on medical grounds.

“If you’ve got an athlete that’s 95% ready, and that little 5% injury or niggle that’s troubling, if you can get that TUE to get them to 100%, yeah of course you would in those days,” he said.

“The business you’re in is to give you the edge on your opponent… and ultimately at the end of the day it’s about killing them off.

“But definitely don’t cross the line and that’s something we’ve never done.”

Sutton was also asked whether “finding the gains might mean getting a TUE”.

He replied: “Finding the gains might be getting a TUE? Yes, because the rules allow you to do that.”

Grainger, a five-time Olympian who won gold at London 2012, said those comments were “disappointing”.

“When I was an athlete, I knew very few people that got TUEs and, as far as I was aware, it was very hard to get it,” she said.

“There are very strong reasons why a TUE might be needed from a purely medical point of view and that’s why they exist. Anything short of that goes in to grey areas and brings in risks to reputation.”

Asked if using TUEs for athletes at 5% below their best was acceptable, she said: “It’s definitely not in the spirit of it. They came in for a clear medical purpose.”

Sutton’s comments came amid continued controversy over the three TUEs granted to Briton Sir Bradley Wiggins before major races in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Wiggins’ use of the corticosteroid triamcinolone to treat asthma and allergies was revealed when hackers released medical files stolen from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) last year.

The 2012 Tour de France winner’s TUEs were approved by the authorities and cycling’s world governing body the UCI, and there is no suggestion he or Team Sky broke any rules. Both have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/42056365

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/42028369

British Cycling: Team Sky ‘gamed system’ over use of therapeutic use exemptions

David Millar rode for Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and is now a pundit and anti-doping campaigner

David Millar rode for Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and is now a pundit and anti-doping campaigner

Team Sky have been accused of “gaming the system” by seeking permission for their riders to take otherwise banned drugs on the basis of medical need.

British former professional cyclist David Millar has told a BBC documentary the team’s use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) was “incredibly disappointing”.

But Shane Sutton, a former senior coach at both Team Sky and British Cycling, told the programme – to be aired on BBC Two on Sunday – that he and his riders “never crossed the line”.

However, he did concede that TUEs may have been used to “find the gains”.

The Australian’s management style also comes under scrutiny, with the revelation a former sports psychiatrist at British Cycling developed serious concerns about Sutton’s treatment of riders in 2012.

Sutton and former performance director Sir Dave Brailsford dismiss concerns over an alleged “culture of fear” – with Brailsford even suggesting the sport is at risk of going “soft” and more likely to breed losers than winners.

‘Don’t cross the line’

Cycling’s Superheroes; The Price of Success tells the story of the project which led to British riders delivering 38 medals in three Olympic Games, and provide four of the past five winners of the Tour de France.

But with the sport engulfed in crisis since the 2016 Rio Games, the hour-long film also examines the cost of that unprecedented glory.

Sutton is asked in which circumstances he would have applied for a TUE to get permission for a rider to use a prohibited drug on medical grounds.

“If you’ve got an athlete that’s 95% ready, and that little 5% injury or niggle that’s troubling, if you can get that TUE to get them to 100%, yeah of course you would in those days,” he said.

“The business you’re in is to give you the edge on your opponent… and ultimately at the end of the day it’s about killing them off.

“But definitely don’t cross the line and that’s something we’ve never done.”

Sutton is also asked whether “finding the gains might mean getting a TUE”.

He replies: “Finding the gains might be getting a TUE? Yes, because the rules allow you to do that.”

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Sir Dave Brailsford (left) and Shane Sutton worked together for both Team Sky and British Cycling

‘A little bit of me died’

Sutton’s comments come amid continued controversy over the three TUEs granted to Sir Bradley Wiggins before major races in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Wiggins’ use of the corticosteroid triamcinolone to treat asthma and allergies was revealed when hackers released medical files stolen from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) last year.

The 2012 Tour de France winner’s TUEs were approved by the authorities and cycling’s world governing body the UCI, and there is no suggestion he or Team Sky broke any rules. Both have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

However, Millar – who was banned for two years in 2004 after admitting doping and now works as a pundit and anti-doping campaigner – said: “Do I think they were gaming the system? Yeah, I think that’s quite obvious, I think we all know that.

“It’s incredibly disappointing. Team Sky was zero-tolerance, so you’d think that would mean you wouldn’t tread into that very grey area of corticosteroid use, because it is performance-enhancing. So when I heard that it was like, ‘seriously?’.

“A little bit of me died to be honest with you. I thought you guys were different.”

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Millar has described triamcinolone as the most potent performance-enhancing drug he has ever used. “It made EPO feel weak,” he tells the film.

This week, UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) announced there would be no charges over a mystery medical package delivered for Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011.

The ruling followed a 14-month long investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at British Cycling and Team Sky.

The medic involved, Dr Richard Freeman, said it was a legal decongestant and not triamcinolone as was alleged, but Ukad said it was hampered by a lack of medical records.

Wiggins described Ukad’s investigation as a “witchhunt” and said he had been subject to a “living hell”. Both he and Team Sky have repeated that they did nothing wrong.

Freeman, who said he was not well enough to give evidence to either Ukad or a parliamentary select committee, is understood to have asked his bosses at British Cycling if he could take part in the film.

They agreed to his request, but he subsequently resigned from his position due to ill health and declined to be interviewed.

‘Hostility and aggression’

Sutton left his role as technical director at British Cycling last year following bullying and discrimination allegations. He was criticised by an independent inquiry, which found he operated within a “culture of fear”.

Sutton was cleared of eight of nine allegations in an internal investigation following the initial complaints from cyclist Jess Varnish, but a complaint that he used sexist language towards her was upheld. Varnish is now suing British Cycling and UK Sport.

However, in the film, Dr Steve Peters – the psychiatrist who has played a central role in the success of British Cycling – reveals that in 2012 he told Brailsford of his concerns about Sutton’s behaviour.

“Shane would start to sort of cajole the athletes and they would feel that they were being intimidated or bullied – some of them, not all. Some of them welcomed it and said, ‘no, this really gets me back in line again’,” said Peters.

“I don’t think there was any malice there, I don’t think he meant anything wrong, but I got to the point after London – we waited until after the Olympics – that I went to Dave and said: ‘It can’t continue.’

“I think Shane’s very passionate and he contributed significantly to the success of the team but if something wasn’t going right, Shane took it on his shoulders. That if this team didn’t succeed in London, for example, then it was his fault, and that meant terrible pressure on him.

“And Shane himself would admit that sometimes his passion overran and then it might turn into what most people would see as hostility or aggression.”

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Peters (right) has worked with top sporting names over 15 years, including cyclist Victoria Pendleton

British Cycling conducted an internal investigation into the climate and culture of its world-class programme in late 2012, but the full details of the behavioural and management issues it highlighted were never passed on to UK Sport.

Despite Peters’ concerns, Sutton was promoted to technical director of British Cycling in April 2014, when Brailsford left to concentrate on his role as general manager at Team Sky.

‘Fear doesn’t come into it’

Sutton defended his approach, saying: “You can rule out the whole ‘fear’. I love that word ‘fear’ – you’re looking at a bloke here, 60 years of age, 65 kilos, and people fear you? You got to be kidding me, come on. No, fear doesn’t come into it at all. Dave just set the bar high.”

When asked about Varnish’s claim he had told her to “go and have a baby” after she was dropped from the Olympic programme before the Rio Games, Sutton said: “Definitely not.

“There’s been a lot made of that. I actually laugh about it when I think about it. Did I ask her to lose some timber? If that’s what you want to ask next? Yes, for sure.

“I was hurt by what was said – I’d have walked across hot coals for those riders, I’d do anything for them.”

Brailsford also dismisses concerns over the culture he led.

“Was it intense? Yeah, for sure,” he said. “For some people, pretty intense. For all of us. But it wasn’t fear-based. I wouldn’t run an organisation based on fear or bullying.

“It worries me at the moment where it’s at, because it’s become too soft, really.

“Life’s not about being soft – life’s tough. That’s the reality of life and I want us to win. I want us to be proud of our nation – a nation of winners and I want to be part of that. I don’t want to be a nation of losers.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/42033692

Sir Bradley Wiggins will make his competitive rowing debut at December’s British Indoor Championships

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Sir Bradley Wiggins confirms rowing debut at British Indoor Championships

Sir Bradley Wiggins is set to make his competitive rowing debut at next month’s British Indoor Championships.

The 37-year-old will compete in the 2,000m race at London’s Olympic Velodrome on Saturday, 9 December.

The five-time Olympic cycling champion and 2012 Tour de France winner retired from cycling in December 2016.

Wiggins, the most decorated British Olympian having also won a silver and two bronze medals, first raised the idea of switching sports in 2012.

“I might be being a bit delusional but the times suggest I’m not,” said Wiggins, who is being coached by friend and Olympic rowing gold medallist James Cracknell, at a corporate event in Manchester in June.

“I took up rowing when I retired just to keep fit, but my numbers started getting quite good, so I’ve started taking it up professionally now and getting coached seven days a week,” he said in comments reported by the Daily Mail.

At last year’s British Rowing Indoor Championships, Adam Neil won the 2,000m title in a time of five minutes, 46.5 seconds after being out of the sport for seven years with a back injury.

The British Rowing Indoor Championships is open to anyone, and competitors from across the UK range from 11 to 88 years of age.

On Wednesday, UK Anti-Doping said there would be no charges over a “mystery” medical package delivered for Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011.

Wiggins said the investigation “felt nothing less than a witch hunt”.

Analysis: ‘His last stroke will be his best’

BBC Sport asked three-time Olympic champion Andrew Triggs Hodge what it will take for the mercurial cycling talent to become rowing royalty.

“If he has got the confidence and the presence to say ‘OK, I will start off as a novice rower and expect nothing more’ but train with that desire and that passion to put himself in the picture and let his body dictate to him a little bit, then I think he will get the most out of himself.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rowing/42023305

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