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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 has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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