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Cycling: British Cycling upholds sexism allegations against Sutton

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Shane Sutton, British Cycling's former technical director, did use derogatory language towards rider Jess Varnish, the governing body said on Friday following the conclusion of an internal investigation into his conduct.

Sutton resigned in April following Varnish's allegations that he told her to "go and have a baby" after she was dropped from the programme the previous month.

He has always denied the allegations.

"Following an internal investigation, the British Cycling board has upheld an allegation made by Jess Varnish that former Technical Director Shane Sutton had used inappropriate and discriminatory language," a British Cycling statement said.

"The board wishes to put on record its sincere regret that this happened. The findings of the investigation will help the development of the organisation alongside the independent review into the culture of the world class programme, jointly commissioned by British Cycling and UK Sport, and led by Annamarie Phelps."

It said the full text of the board's report had been made available to the independent review.

Sutton's resignation came about amid wider claims of a culture of bullying and discrimination in British Cycling -- claims supported by former Olympic champions Nicole Cook and Victoria Pendleton. Allegations also surfaced that he called Paralympic cyclists "wobblies".

Australia-born Sutton was a key component in Britain's ride to become a cycling superpower, first joining the organisation in 2002. He took over the role of technical director in 2014 when Dave Brailsford left to concentrate on running Team Sky.

Despite a third Tour de France win for Chris Froome and domination of the track cycling podium at the Rio Olympics, British Cycling has endured a torrid year.

It has been dragged into the controversy surrounding Team Sky's use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs), including for former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, and is part of a UK Anti-Doping investigation into allegations of "wrongdoing"

Last week chief executive of eight years Ian Drake said he would stand down in April.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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