British Cycling Cultivated ‘Culture of Fear,’ Report Finds

Although the report, commissioned in April 2016, is deeply critical, some said that it did not go far enough. Ken Matheson, a former British Cycling coach, described the final report as “a whitewash.”

An earlier draft of the report, leaked in March, was significantly more damning. It questioned whether British Cycling was fit to run the sport, found it culpable of “bullying” and said that the board had “sanitized” the findings of the internal investigation into accusations of sexism and bullying made by Jess Varnish, a cyclist who was dropped from the elite program before the Rio Games.

Varnish said Sutton told her to “go and have a baby.” Sutton was suspended and then resigned in April 2016. Only one of Varnish’s nine claims against Sutton was upheld by the British Cycling board. Varnish is threatening to take legal action against the organization.

Even before the report, British Cycling had been sullied by drug allegations concerning Team Sky, which competes in premier road events like the Tour de France. UK Anti-Doping is investigating a padded envelope flown to France to be given to the cyclist Bradley Wiggins in 2011 during the Critérium du Dauphiné. Team Sky’s doctor at the time, Richard Freeman, who now works for British Cycling, has said that he did not know what the package contained. There are no relevant medical records remaining.


Jess Varnish, right, a cyclist who was dropped from the elite program before the Rio Games, accused Sutton of sexism and bullying, including telling her to “go and have a baby.”

Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Last December, Dave Brailsford, who was performance director for British Cycling and Team Sky at the time but has since left British Cycling, claimed that the bag contained Fluimucil, a decongestant.

“I’m told Fluimucil costs eight euros in…

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