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Shane Sutton resigns from British Cycling

Sky Sports News says Australian at centre of discrimination claims to go

Shane Sutton is to resign from his role as technical director at British Cycling according to Sky Sports News.

The 58-year-old Australian was suspended from his position overnight as the governing body launched an investigation into allegations he had referred to paracyclists as "gimps" and "wobblies."

> Shane Sutton alleged to have referred to para-cyclists as ‘gimps’ and ‘wobblies’

In recent days Sutton, who succeeded Sir Dave Brailsford at the helm of the national team in 2014 has also been at the centre of claims of sexism first aired by track sprinter Jess Varnish and backed up by other riders including Victoria Pendleton.

Sutton denies the allegations, but says he is stepping down to avoid the issue from distracting from preparations for Rio this summer.

In a statement released via British Cycling, he said: "Today starts the 100-day countdown to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is absolutely crucial that, as our athletes begin their final preparations for Rio, they are able to do so free of distraction.

“The developments over the past few days have clearly become a distraction. It is for this reason, and having spoken to friends and family, that I believe it is in the best interests of British Cycling for me to step down from my position as technical director.

“It is important that the review announced by British Cycling and UK Sport now takes place, and I will obviously co-operate fully with this. I have made clear that I reject the specific claims that have been made against me in recent days, and I look forward to taking a full part in the review process so I can respond to the allegations in detail.

Sutton added: “Cycling is my passion and I have always worked to get the very best out of professional athletes. I am proud of what British Cycling has achieved and I am excited by the potential of the team for Rio. They will always have my full support.”

British Cycling's chief executive, Ian Drake, said:  “I want to put on record my thanks to Shane for his work with British Cycling and the part he has played in our success. We have a lot to be proud of and, with the Olympics and Paralympics this summer, a lot to look forward to.

“I understand and respect Shane’s decision to stand down. His primary focus has always been the athletes, and this decision is something he has taken to allow them to focus on their preparation for Rio. Andy Harrison, programmes director at British Cycling, will be taking over with immediate effect and will manage the team in the build-up to Rio 2016.

“As we announced yesterday, we are now putting in place an independent review with UK Sport so that we can investigate the allegations that have been raised in recent days about the culture within the Great Britain Cycling Team. We continue to be committed to promoting equality of opportunity and providing a supportive environment within British Cycling.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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