Team GBR London 2012
  • Berne Shaw

    Well said. Cycling is a known bastion of sexism, old style militaristic management and coaching and good old boys macho norms. And as many people realize, there is power, politics, class, money, and greed at stake in maintaining things just as they are. Power does not yield by asking nor complaining. Women must organize and strike, and we men who stand with them in solidarity must demand equality in all things, first and foremost women in management on teams, organizations and the UCI at the highest positions and in equal numbers. Equal pay for equal work, the popularity will come as the ranks of women increase and their depth is the result. What few people realize is that women and men physiologically differ minimally when one looks at the normal distribution of a population at the high elite end the differences are very very slight. Both men and women’s elite abilities are amazing and worthy.

    • ummm…

      good points. but can you give me more information on why you believe cycling is a bastion of sexism? I’m not against the idea, but a lot of the stories I read are about petty issues that can be written off by the human condition or business interests. Varnish herself said that many men dont really have it better in GB cycling. I think that previous issues that were catagorized unfairly as extreme gender violence creates a difficulty for real issues such as this to be heard fairly; i.e. when we complain about a models suggestive pose on a bike we then frame the problem in a way that diminishes true problems such as this as you throw the baby out with the bathwater. Please answer my point and tell me if im looking at it wrongly.

      • Dave

        Even Varnish being dropped from the British Cycling performance program is not an example of sexism – at least not sexism against women. Any male cyclist who was getting the same sort of lacklustre results she was returning (most notably failing to qualify for the Olympics, let alone put in a good performance in Rio) would not have lasted anywhere near the nine years in the program she had.

        British Cycling are right to direct their funds towards development of new talent with their eye on Tokyo 2020. It’s not like they are kicking Varnish out of the sport, just saying that she will now have to race her way into the national team rather than having her name pencilled in.

        • ummm…

          i dunno. I think the fact that the media is sticking to the sexist line, and not his overall managerial style towards men and women, is making it difficult for us gender politic weary people to embrace the framing of the scandal. Men and women both lost under his management it looks like.

          Possibly the pain and trouble that the men were put through will ALWAYS be seen as less than any sexism that women had come up against. What does that say about how we feel about the pain men go through? It is nearly invisible here.

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  • Andy Logan

    These type of reports about gender inequality and sexism (regardless of industry if you will) make me sick. In this day and age there is no place for women to be seen as second fiddle to men. As a kid, I had to witness my mum as a single parent battle against this type of prejudice, I don’t see many men who were bringing up two kids and working full time, who completed their masters and PhD, it just isn’t acceptable any longer.

    BC and other organisations need to have a good hard look at themselves and have a big clear out of the people who push this inequality bullshit.

    • Arfy

      Hopefully these women band together and become the next wave of management for women’s cycling in Britain, take the power away from the aristocracy. But not before Rio, let’s give the Aussie girls the best chance of winning medals!

      • ummm…

        yeah i too hope to see more women in managerial roles.

  • Connor

    ..and to see what they’ve achieved IN SPITE of the context in which they’ve had to work…just makes me respect them even more. Can’t imagine having to deal with this kind of antiquated prejudice on top of the training/life sacrifices you need to make to get anywhere near ‘the top’. Just not right.

    • ummm…

      women in GB cycling are still given some of the best resources in the world, much more than most men in the sport. So, lets not make big sweeping statements. Keep in mind that Varnish said men didn’t have it much better.

  • Callum Dwyer

    Sutton has now been suspended with a investigation pending. http://www.bbc.com/sport/cycling/36147120

  • Sean parker

    Sutton grew up under the Charlie Walsh template for success. Team GB really should have thought twice.

  • Flash

    Go girls, don’t take this poor treatment. Women have had to put up this for decades. My wife was an aspiring cyclist, and eventually took up another sport where women were welcomed (eg Triathlon) – and went on to win many times.
    Charlie Walsh – just look how he treated Kathy Watt leading up to the Olympics.
    So perhaps Sutton should be sacked, but like most other people in the sport who do the wrong thing, he would still get a job somewhere.
    Jess perhaps you are too old, but you are also too bloody good.
    In the 21st century, one still wonders how and why this still occurs.
    So Jess and others, keep fighting knowing you have the support of the majority.

    • ummm…

      interesting point. how is tri different, culturally, from road?

  • Jim Pettipher

    A quick browse of the British Cycling website yesterday revealed; elected board of directors? All men. CEO? A man. Senior management team? All men. Their 2015 annual report (& membership factsheet) cite 103,000 members but does not say how many are women. The majority of the pictures of GB cyclists in the annual report are women, and there is a section talking about how they have a programme to get and keep more women cycling. The overall impression is of a male lead organisation that thinks its GB women are good enough to use for fundraising (women in sport a main driver for Lottery funding from UK Sport & Sport England) and pictures (linked to fundraising) but “too difficult” – both Cooke & Pendleton and now Varnish labelled as such – to be senior management or promoted to a board position. My view is that eveidence of a meaningful change in attitude would be the appointment of Cooke to the board.

    • ummm…

      be careful with this argument. There are a lot of races and genders that are under represented. Not all of it has to do with sexism, but trailblazers not yet appearing.

      • Jim Pettipher

        “a lot of races and genders”? How many genders are you under the impression that there are? Women (of all races) probably make up a significant portion of the 103K membership, they certainly make up about 50% of the GB Cycling team. There are ZERO women elected onto the board and ZERO senior management team members. I see ZERO evidence even of female coaches. Thank you for your advice but I see ZERO need to be careful with this argument. Women have a RIGHT to be represented in these areas, which could only be good for British Cycling as a whole.

        • ummm…

          Surely progress need to be made, but the argument that management needs to reflect membership does not jive with the need for management to be qualified. Are there qualified women? Absolutely. Dont’ be so aggressive if you dont understand the point. Diversity for the sake of diversity does nothing.

          • Jim Pettipher

            Aggresive? How so exactly? I simply emphasised a few facts, thanked you for your contribution but reserved the right to hold to my view. Interesting that a person (as you are hiding behind the cloak of anonymity I cannot know your gender) who conflates genders (2) with races (many) and an issue of equality rights (gender) with diversity issues (racial issues, disability issues) presumes to suggest that I might not “understand the point”. My point is – and if you remember, you took issue with my point – that made my Prime Minster Trudeau when he appointed a gender balanced Cabinet in Canada. A journalist asked him why? He answered, “Because it’s 2015.” If you cannot understand and accept that point, then there is little point in continuing this communication.

            • ummm…

              Many people consider gender to be more than 2.

              You dont want to continue a conversation with me because I dont agree that in a position that is chosen on merit, gender shouldn’t be a factor. These are positions that are about the health and security of a country or program – not about promoting protected classes. That promotion is done in university when the POTENTIAL of a person and their “group” are to be nurtured. When we are talking about a JOB then we need to just select on merit. Hopefully if our schools do the job then we will have a diverse cabinet. Now, I fail to see how 2015 should be any different that 1915 or 2115 in regards to the need for the best candidates in the cabinet and not just a representative for every group. In fact, if this was the case then in BC and in Canada we should have a lot more brown skinned people, disabled people, look at the percentage of conservatives and liberals and have the makeup parody that etc. etc. No, not how things go. Merit gets you the job. Education leads to merit. The place to make the change is lifting up people in universtiy, not when they should already have the skills.

              It is supremely insulting to find out that you are on the cabinet because you are a special interest, and not because you have the merit. Granted merit can be subjective – but that is not what these people are saying – they are just saying “women” we just want “women”

  • jules

    I’m heartened to see Jess’ teammates and former teammates speaking up in support of her. I don’t believe the British or general public are prepared to accept this type of behaviour from BC management. How fing hard is it to treat women equally? Honestly you’d think it cost some people a kidney or something.

    I also note a post from a male, non-British ex-elite cyclist today recounting inappropriate comments towards him from the same person.

    • Secret CritPro

      Who was the cyclist, or link to the post.

    • ummm…

      so if men and women are treated badly by shane is this PRIMARILY an issue about sex?

      • jules

        are you serious? treating men badly as well doesn’t justify sexist behaviour. you’re implying that 2 wrongs make a right.

        • Rogerthedodger

          Jules I think ummm… is simply suggesting Shane is a dick to women and men. And disabled people. The guy should be sacked for his comments in general not just towards women but others also. But to suggest she was dropped because he was sexist seems a rather large stretch.

          • ummm…

            i think im going to back off my point that mitigates his sexism because he was rude to men as well. Sexism is sexism regardless of context. there are differing degrees in as much as somebody acts upon their beliefs, but it doesn’t change the ideological motiviations.

            • Rogerthedodger

              I agree sexism is sexism, however I’m equally as outraged at the way he has spoken to and treated others. Clearly the guy has a track record (no pun intended) and should be shuffled out the door.

        • ummm…

          justify sexist behaviour? who is justifying sexist behaviour? I’m saying that if he is being an idiot to all is he an idiot or a sexist, PRIMARILY. Because what we have now are stories proclaiming him a sexist, bringing up how sexist BC is – yet the meat of the story should be his disrespect for males AND females. But, of course this story will be coopted to address this issue of women and get clicks and ignore the issues with men at BC. And of course, my frustration with the at many times disingenuous focus on certain issues will be misinterpreted as misogyny. I’d suppose the most important story to come out of this scandal will be that he was rude to women, which while can never be diminished, will not lend an equal voice to Clancy etc. Not to say these should be competing interests.

          Continue misreading me at your leisure.

  • rumsranger

    Nicole Cooke has been an outspoken advocate for womens’ sport for a long time, it’s such a shame she doesn’t have a greater profile. Her statement at retirement was burning full of resentment against sexism and cheating – http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/jan/14/nicole-cooke-retirement-statement

    Where does this leave British Cycling? Will it hamper medal chances at Rio?

    • Secret CritPro

      I hope it doesn’t effect the teams performance. As a Brit, I am obviously biased, but I do believe that competition should be at world class level performed by the best athletes in the world at their peak.
      I don’t imagine it will effect them, as the hard work has been done, and the next, and probably last training block is in place.
      There has been a lot of conflict between this person, and the first british winner of the tdf, much of which caused a number of issues.

      I do hope that British Cycling give Dave Brailsford a call, and bring him in as an interim ‘driver’.

      • Dave

        You appear to be a bit mixed up about Bradley Wiggins’ working relationships with the two former head coaches. He works well with Sutton (and relies heavily on Sutton’s mentoring) but clashes badly with Brailsford and has said so publicly in the past. Discreetly asking Sutton to stay on to work purely with the team pursuit squad is something that British Cycling should seriously consider.

        British Cycling would definitely do well to not bring back Brailsford as the head coach either temporarily or permanently, there are too many messy human issues (some stemming from his previous tenure) for his technical mind to solve. With only three months to go until the Olympics, they just need a good manager of people (ideally someone with no prior history at British Cycling) rather than a new head coach, as the coaches working directly with each athlete or team will be just fine handling the coaching side of things.

        • Secret CritPro

          I am intrigued by your take on this matter.
          I can personally assure you that, DB was the glue that kept Brad on the straight and narrow.
          Sutton is a loner, no mates, lives alone, and whilst gets results, doesn’t relate to people.

    • Dave

      Shane Sutton’s resignation is the second best gift the Australian team pursuit squad could hope for (Dave Brailsford returning would trump that) as his working relationship with Bradley Wiggins has been the glue which has brought that team together since 2014.

      Apart from the men’s team pursuit, I don’t think it will cause any huge problems and they should still be on track for a total of 2-4 medals in other events.

  • Jon Bayley
  • Derek Maher

    Its a strange old sport with many old fashioned attitudes held onto by male officials in the various federations towards women and racing.
    Yet the public will cheer on a woman just as loudly as a man towards that finish line without a bother.
    In my opinion it would be best if the women had representation among the decision takers when it comes to allocating resources for training and racing. This should get rid of the cosy club management atmosphere which abounds in many sports to the detriment of many athletes.

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