Monday 11 December 2017

'I told her to lose some timber but I am not a sexist'

Shane Sutton
Shane Sutton

Tom Cary

Shane Sutton says he will use the Freedom of Information Act to try to get his hands on the findings of the six-month internal investigation which last week found him guilty of using inappropriate and discriminatory remarks towards Jess Varnish.

Sutton, who resigned as technical director of British Cycling in April having already been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, denies that he ever told Varnish to “go and have a baby” after she was dropped from the team, although he did admit on Monday telling the 25-year-old that she should “lose some timber”.

After Varnish’s allegation was upheld last Friday, the Australian told Telegraph Sport that he remained “100 per cent” confident that he had done nothing wrong and had requested to see the investigation’s  supporting evidence.

It is understood that testimony given to the tribunal was given on a confidential basis. But Sutton says he plans to access it by whatever means necessary.

"I want to know how they came to decision and will use Freedom of Information Act,” he told Sky Sports. “I want to understand the rationale.

“It would be just nice to understand how they came to this decision. I will continue to repeat what I’ve said from day one, that conversation [with Varnish] has never taken place. If Jess can produce where the conversation took place, who was there at the time – and I  believe that it was only me – so I’m trying to understand how they’ve arrived at that decision given it’s her word against mine. It never happened in the way it was described.

“I can visualise the conversation quite vividly. The coaches and dietitians had sat Jess down and said you really need to lose some weight. Jess was confused because she thought the coaches had told her to get bigger, get more power.

“She asked me for my personal opinion and I said, ‘Do you want the director’s opinion or the personal opinion?’ My exact words were: ‘We are trying to qualify for the Games in team sprint and you need to lose some timber.’

He added: “I sympathised with [Varnish] losing her place on the team but we were about performance and Jess hadn’t done that in quite some time. This is nothing to do with sexism.

“I like to tell the truth, maybe to my detriment sometimes, and the truth is I’m not a sexist and that is the only thing that has really hurt me in all of this.”

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