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British Cycling "one of the best" at promoting equality between male and female athletes says Joanna Rowsell Shand

Recently retired rider also says any accusations of bullying should be treated seriously

Joanna Rowsell Shand says that British Cycling is "one of the best” sport's governing bodies in terms of equality, despite recent accusations of bullying and sexism.

Rowsell Shand told BBC Sport: "My experience of British Cycling did not reflect that."

It’s not the first time she has dissented - last year she expressed ‘surprise’ at Jess Varnish’s complaints about sexist comments from technical director Shane Sutton.

But she added that she  "did not want to dismiss anybody's accusations" and "everybody should be taken seriously".

"The sport of cycling internationally still has some huge inequalities between men and women - and that is the same across many sports," she told BBC Sport.

"But I think British Cycling is probably one of the best governing bodies in the world at trying to promote equality between men and women.

"We would not have won what we won if we had not had the support from British Cycling so for me I honestly feel that my medal was worth the same as the men's equivalent.”

We recently reported how Rowsell Shand has now retired from competitive cycling ages 28, having won Olympic gold in the team pursuit in 2012 and 2016.

"No organisation is perfect but I think you should strive for perfection," Rowsell Shand said.

"British Cycling have already done a 39-point plan of areas they want to improve on which I think it very proactive.

"I think if somebody feels that they've been bullied it's very easy for somebody else to think it was just banter, but I think these things should be absolutely taken really seriously," she said.

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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