Controversial coach one of seven candidates vying for the position

Shane Sutton, who resigned in April as technical director of the Great Britain Cycling Team, has been shortlisted for the role of high performance director at Cycling Australia, according to a report in the Guardian.

The controversial coach is one of seven candidates for the position, which has been vacant since the resignation of Kevin Tabotta since the country’s dismal showing at the Rio Olympics, where Australia won two medals, neither of them gold.

Last month, a British Cycling internal investigation upheld allegations made against Sutton by former team member Jess Varnish, who had accused him of sexism and discrimination. The Australian coach, who denies ever making such comments, has said he plans to appeal the decision.

> Shane Sutton to appeal British Cycling verdict

Those allegations, as well as others including that he called para-cyclists “gimps” and “wobblies” are the subject of a separate investigation commissioned by UK Sport, the body that provides the bulk of British Cycling’s funding.

Opinion over Sutton is fiercely split between some of the biggest names to have worked with him. Victoria Pendleton and Nicole Cooke are among those to have supported Varnish, while others including Sir Bradley Wiggins and Joanna Rowsell-Shand have backed Sutton.

Commenting on the search for a successor to Tabotta, Cycling Australia chief executive Nick Green said: “We are looking for the next person to be a really strong leader of a very strong cycling system.

“Australia and Great Britain are probably regarded as the two best high-performance cycling nations,” he went on.

“Great Britain are No1 and clearly our strategy is to knock them off in four years’ time.”

British Cycling is likewise recruiting a performance director to succeed Sutton, who took over the helm of the national team in early 2014 after Sir Dave Brailsford decided to focus full-time on Team Sky.

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.