British Cycling to be 'more caring' to riders as it awaits independent review findings

National Cycling Centre
British Cycling promises to review complaints-handling procedures

British Cycling bosses will make changes in order to be more caring to riders after accusations of bullying and sexism against top-level cyclists.

An investigation into the culture at British Cycling was launched last year with a report on the findings imminent.

But the governing body says work on an action plan to address any "failings" is already under way.

"Athlete and participant welfare is our highest priority," said chairman of British Cycling Jonathan Browning.

Browning said the organisation had achieved "remarkable success" in not only winning races, but bringing new people into the sport.

However, he added: "We deeply regret any instance where we have failed to deliver."

He accepted there had been "well reported" incidences where behaviour had been "unacceptable" and needed to be addressed.

"My ambition for athletes is anyone leaving programme says 'I would recommend it to my younger brother or sister'," he said.

Browning said British Cycling was now "committed to implementing the recommendations of the independent review in full" to ensure the best possible environment in which its athletes could flourish.

The action plans focuses on athlete development, culture and behaviour, overall governance and management and operations. Its aims include:

  • Providing "whole life" development opportunities for every rider and supporting those who leave the programme
  • Developing a "refreshed set of values, behaviours and leadership principles" by which British Cycling will operate
  • Reviewing procedures around complaints reporting and handling.
Jess Varnish and Shane Sutton
Jess Varnish and Shane Sutton worked together on the Great Britain track cycling team

The independent review was commissioned last April by British Cycling alongside UK Sport, which provides elite funding to the organisation.

It came after former technical director Shane Sutton, who was was later cleared of eight of nine allegations, was found to have used sexist language towards cyclist Jess Varnish.

UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl says the independent review has "identified valuable lessons" both for British Cycling and other sports it funds.

The organisation set out its own action plan to help British Cycling, which includes "placing more emphasis on the importance of culture and duty of care".

Browning added: "Athlete development has been and will continue to be the key to our success at the highest level.

"I am committed to the principle that for our elite success to be sustainable, we must become leaders for the sector in terms of the way our riders are supported as they join our programmes, as they progress through them and, whatever they have achieved on the way, as they leave.

"This is not about complying to protect funding, this is about running and leading our organisation in a way that is consistent with our ambition to be a world-class governing body and a great place to work."

It comes a day after MP Damian Collins MP said said British Cycling's credibility "is in tatters" following a separate inquiry into doping.

BBC

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