Varnish vows to win back place for Rio amid sexism claims


Jess Varnish is eyeing a return to British Cycling's Rio 2016 team after making allegations of sexism against its former technical director.

Last month, Varnish claimed Shane Sutton told her to "go and have a baby" after she was dropped from the Great Britain team following her failure to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

Varnish also said Sutton told her she was "too old" and "not worth wasting UK Sport's money" along with other comments dating back "many years".

British Cycling is investigating the allegations, which were denied by Sutton, who subsequently resigned.

And now Varnish is targeting a return to the fold ahead of the Games in Rio, which begin in August.

"I don't think it would be productive to comment further around my previous statements until these investigations have had a chance to run their course," the 25-year-old said in a statement.

"My immediate priority is to win back my place on the British Cycling team, ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games, and to prove that I was, and still am, good enough to win medals for Great Britain.

"I have reached out to the new Performance Director at British Cycling, Andy Harrison, and will meet with him on my return to the UK.

"I still maintain that the decision not to renew my contract was not down to performance. Prior to the 2016 World Championships I was not once told that I was underperforming. We have monthly reviews and at no stage was I put under review, or set performance targets to keep my place on the programme. 

"The first I knew that the coaches had an issue with my performance levels, or training data, was five days after the 2016 World Championships, when I was told I wouldn't be getting a new contract over the phone.

"I also maintain that I am a world-class athlete and have the ability to win more medals for Great Britain.

"I hope that on hearing my case, and with the knowledge that I have been doing the best I can under the circumstances to maintain my fitness on the track, Andy Harrison and British Cycling will give me the chance to get back on the British cycling program ahead of selection for Rio.

"It is been a dream for me ever since London 2012 to compete and be successful in Rio."