UCI president Brian Cookson has said he is “surprised” that Sir Dave Brailsford, engineer of Team GB’s success at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, has not commented on the scandals that have engulfed British Cycling in the past week. He has also said that he received complaints about Shane Sutton during his time as president of British Cycling, but had been assured the issues had been resolved.
Brailsford gave up his role as performance director of the national team in 2014 to focus full-time on his role as principal of Team Sky after 11 years in the position. Following his departure, Sutton moved up into the new position of technical director, in effect replacing Brailsford.
After Sutton resigned last week in the wake of allegations of sexism, bullying and discrimination against paracyclists, Brailsford praised Sutton for his role in the success of Great Britain’s cyclists.
Some of the allegations against Sutton and other British Cycling staff relate to the period Brailsford was at the helm of the team, but speaking to Sky Sports News, he did not comment on any of them, focusing instead on Sutton’s “immense contribution” to the national team.
On Saturday at the Tour de Yorkshire, Cookson commented: “I think it’s not for me to say what Dave should or shouldn’t do. He was the performance director for many years and was very successful,” reports Telegraph.co.uk.
“I guess all I will say is that I am surprised not to have seen any comment from Dave.”
Acknowledging that when he was president of British Cycling prior to assuming the top job at the UCI in 2013 he had received complaints about Sutton, Cookson said: “We were always assured that these issues had been addressed by Shane’s line managers at the time.”
“I’m happy that when I was president the people I worked with and the board I ran did their jobs with integrity, professionally and diligently, and I’m sure that that’s the case now,” he added.
He also expressed frustration at progress in completing the velodrome scheduled to host the track cycling events at the Rio Olympics this summer.
Cookson said: “It’s very disappointing. I understand that the track itself is more or less complete, it’s rideable, but the building still has quite a bit of work to do on it.
“Even the mayor of Rio admits it is the biggest problem they have and that there are another 30 or 40 days left of work still to do. Given that there are less than 100 days to go now, that is very, very serious. I do believe they will do it but it is very, very late.”
A test event due to take place earlier this year was first postponed then cancelled altogether, meaning that the first competitive event the velodrome will host will be the Olympic Games themselves.
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.