Pendleton backs Varnish in sexism claims

SPEAKING OUT: Victoria Pendleton
SPEAKING OUT: Victoria Pendleton
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Victoria Pendleton has backed up former team-mate Jess Varnish’s claims that there is sexism towards women at the top of British Cycling.

The double Olympic champion, who honed her riding skills with Mildenhall Cycling Club, where she is still an honorary gold member, says her experiences were ‘very similar’ to Varnish, who was axed from British Cycling’s podium programme amid claims she was told by now-resigned technical director Shane Sutton to ‘move on and get on with having a baby’.

Sutton, 58, denies her claims and said he stepped down this week ‘in the best interests of British Cycling’.

Pendleton opened up to the Daily Telegraph this week in order to protect the reputation of her former team-mate, saying: “I never felt I had the same respect as my male team-mates.

“My opinion wasn’t worth as much. I used to sit quietly in meetings and not say anything as I knew my opinions would be disregarded. And that’s after I had become Olympic champion and multiple world champion.”

She added: “You have to wonder why there isn’t a single woman in a position of leadership in the whole organisation.

“I resent the fact that I failed to perform in London because I didn’t feel supported by a feel individuals.”

Sutton has said he ‘wholeheartedly’ denies the sexism claims and British Cycling maintain Varnish’s career was not renewed on performance grounds.