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Jess Varnish

Multiple World, Commonwealth & European Championship medallist and Professional Cyclist


17 May 2016Statement from Jess Varnish

Whilst away training in Australia, I have been keeping up to date with developments in the UK. I wanted to shine a light on the culture of fear at British Cycling, and I’m glad that others felt they could come forward to share their experiences. I have spoken with both British Cycling and UK Sport and offered my full support in their respective investigations. Therefore I don’t think it would be productive to comment further around my previous statements until these investigations have had a chance to run their course.

My immediate priority is to win back my place on the British Cycling team, ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games, and to prove that I was, and still am, good enough to win medals for Great Britain. I have reached out to the new Performance Director at British Cycling, Andy Harrison, and will meet with him on my return to the UK.

I still maintain that the decision not to renew my contract was not down to performance. Prior to the 2016 World Championships I was not once told that I was underperforming. We have monthly reviews and at no stage was I put under review, or set performance targets to keep my place on the programme. The first I knew that the coaches had an issue with my performance levels, or training data, was 5 days after the 2016 World Championships, when I was told I wouldn’t be getting a new contract over the phone.

I also maintain that I am a World Class Athlete, and have the ability to win more medals for Great Britain. During the 2 year Olympic qualifying process:

I gained more qualifying points than any other British female sprint rider,
I was consistently performing in the top 5 in the World for Lap 1 times in the Team Sprint
I qualified the Olympic places for Great Britain in the individual Sprint and Keirin.
Since 2012 I have won medals at the World & European Championships and Commonwealth Games.

I hope that on hearing my case, and with the knowledge that I have been doing the best I can under the circumstances to maintain my fitness on the track, Andy Harrison and British Cycling will give me the chance to get back on the British cycling program ahead of selection for Rio. It is been a dream for me ever since London 2012 to compete and be successful in Rio.