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Governing body acts after riders back Jess Varnish

British Cycling has suspended technical director Shane Sutton as it investigates allegations of sexual discrimination made against him, and the governing body.

Its action follows track sprinter Jessica Varnish’s claims that there is a “culture of fear” surrounding women riding for the national team and subsequent claims that he referred to para-cyclists as 'gimps' and 'wobblies'.

In a statement released early on Wednesday morning, British Cycling said:

Following the announcement of an independent review into British Cycling’s performance programmes, we are also announcing technical director Shane Sutton has been suspended pending an internal investigation into the allegations of discrimination that have been reported in the press.

Varnish has been supported by former world and Olympic champions Victoria Pendleton and Nicole Cooke, among others.

Sutton’s suspension comes with less than four months to go to the Rio Olympics.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.