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Jess Varnish won’t appeal over Olympic exclusion

Track sprinter says it’s “pointless” to try and secure place for Rio

Jess Varnish, whose allegations of discrimination against Great Britain technical director Shane Sutton sparked similar claims from other athletes that led to his resignation in April, says it is “pointless” to appeal to be reconsidered for a place at the Rio Olympic Games.

The 25-year-old, who partnered Victoria Pendleton in the team sprint at London 2012 – the pair were relegated for an illegal changeover and missed out on the medals – was dropped from British Cycling’s performance programme in April.

> Varnish dropped from Olympic programme

That decision came shortly after Varnish and Katy Marchant finished fifth at the world championships in London, just missing out on qualifying for that event at Rio.

Afterwards, both hit out at British Cycling’s selection policy in choosing less experienced riders for earlier events in which Olympic qualification points were at stake.

> Have the wheels come off for GB Cycling Team? Sprinters lash out

Last week, announcing the team that will represent the country in Rio, British Cycling said that it would allow an appeals process allowing non-funded riders to ask for their case for inclusion to be reconsidered, with others such as Dani King unhappy at not making the squad.

> Non-funded riders can appeal being dropped from Team GB squad

Varnish, a European and Commonwealth medallist in the individual sprint, could have appealed under the new rules, but told that there would be no point given she ceased training several weeks ago.

She added that she was “shocked” to learn of the new process, since British Cycling had not contacted her to say that option was available, and that she believed any non-funded cyclist lodging an appeal faced a “significant financial risk.”

Varnish, who is pursuing her studies now, said: “It’s sad that an organisation that once prided itself on fact and data, now pick and choose riders on discretion.  I know I’m not the only rider to feel like this.”

She maintained that she intended to continue with her cycling career and said she had already had offers from professional teams.

“I will compete for Great Britain again, I’m not too old, I have the desire to win and I’ll be back,” she insisted.

“In the meantime, I wish all those travelling to Rio to represent Team GB the best of luck; embrace the opportunity, the Olympic Games is a very special experience,” Varnish added.

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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