Wednesday 9 November 2016

10 Soundbites from....Shane Sutton at the Rouleur Classic

Last Thursday saw the start of the Rouleur Classic three-day extravaganza where the who's who of cycling turned out in London to meet and greet, press the flesh, talk about their year in cycling, reminiscing, regretting or refuting what they had done. As well as that, we were treated to lots of exhibitors showcasing their latest wares.

It was great to see at the same event folks like Sean Kelly, Christian Prudhomme and Jens Voigt alongside local biker folks that I hadn't seen for a while - Michelle from Total Women's Cycling, the guys from Eroica Britannia, and of course chief driver, Ian Cleverly.

We knew who would be on the bill for the main stage interviews, but it was quite a surprise when the interviewer for the evening, Ned Boulting, casually announced that former British Cycling Technical Director, Shane Sutton would be making an appearance.

Initially I thought it was a joke, but no it wasn't. He was there in the flesh, in the press room with lots of people around him, many of whom were very pleased to see him.

What he is alleged to have said to Jess Varnish and the other discriminatory comments he made sound shocking, but on the stage Sutton sounded like a broken man who had really been put through the mill and was trying to pick up his career. And, as we now know, he strongly denies the allegations and his legal team are appealing against the sexism ruling made by British Cycling. 
Here are the other things Shane Sutton said on-stage to Ned Boulting.

"When you look at the women I brought into the sport and the different dieticians, psychologists, etc... all that has brought success. That's why I will fight the sexism claim.

We should look at the successes of the athletes - the Froomes, Armitsteads etc..We are losing focus by going on about whether someone made a comment or not.

I'm not going to say I am perfect. Maybe in the past I did overstep the mark but over the years I have improved.

At British Cycling we had three key ingredients for our success: Great leadership in Dave Brailsford; great coaching; great talent. In 16 years on the coaching side I have never had any claims against me. I will fight to clear my name.

I did not tell Jess Varnish that she had a fat a*se or she should go away and have a baby. I wanna clear my name. I had a fantastic time at British Cycling and I will live to fight another day.

I've had a lot of dark nights, a lot of cigarettes but I have drawn strength from people supporting me - the girls and others at British Cycling. I want to thank the people at British Cycling who have supported me.

[In response to whether he has started drinking, following previous drinking problems]

It has been really tough and I really had to draw on my inner strength, and needed support around me. I've been clean for 13 years.

I'm not ready to stop working in biking yet. My ticker is red, white and blue - and I don't mean French! I've been part of the most successful team in the world, but I'm looking to do something where I can make a difference. I need to make sure my next job is right for me. Before I take on anything abroad I need to discuss things with my wife.

My stand-out memories in my career at British Cycling were: Vicky Pendleton's performance in Beijing [2008]. It was the first time I cried, knowing what she has been through. I also have really great memories about seeing Chris Hoy win in London [2012] during the Keirin ride. 

[In response to the question on what was in the medical package delivered to Team Sky during the Dauphine Libéré road race in 2011]

I don't know what was in the package. I suffer from Barrett's [oesophagus] so I was often having packages delivered to me when travelling so I don't really think about it. But I don't know anything about that package. There's only two people who know the answer to that question. I guess that will come out in the investigation."

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