Jess Varnish (photo: Nicola, CC-by-sa 4.0)

Shane Sutton resigns from British Cycling

…after the National Federation announced a pending investigation into offensive comments and language used by the Technical Director.

Multiple British and European Champion Jessica Varnish stated that Sutton had made several sexist comments to her when she was interviewed by the Daily Mail. Other female riders publicly supported Jess including Nicole Cooke, who said “I have been contacted by other riders both present and past, to say that they have experienced similar behaviour at British Cycling,” and Emma Pooley who highlighted the fact that British Cycling has worked with Team Sky in their (successful) attempt to win the Tour de France. The allegation that he had also used offensive terminology when referring to disabled athletes was made by Paralympic gold medalist Darren Kenny.

Proving that women’s cycling has come a long way from the days when it was widely considered a sideshow to the main (men’s) event, Jess also received widespread support from fans both male and female and, on the 27th, British Cycling announced that Sutton – who, ironically, was named “Coach of the Year” in 2008 – was being suspended while the investigation was carried out; he in turn announced his resignation later the same day. More from the BBC

Then, on Thursday, Team Sky’s Peter Kennaugh, who later apologised, weighed into the row when he responded to Pooley’s comments, asking on Twitter: “Emma pooley why would sky put money into the women’s giro [the Giro Donne – ed.] that absolutely no one in the uk has absolutely no idea about,” [sic]. And for an absolutely spot-on response to that, take a look at Isla Rush’s blog.

…and in the interest of fairness, because this is after all Neutral Service, here’s a blog defending Sutton.

Race Results and Comment

Team MK Central League RR


ThunderCrit is go!

If you’re looking for an alternative to the Lincoln GP on the 15th of May, either as a rider or as a fan, Team Milton Keynes’ Central League Road Races at Cranfield in Bedfordshire look like a good alternative. The 60km E/1/2/3/4 Women’s event already has 22 riders signed up with a good spread of clubs and teams (and has plenty of places left for more – just £20!). It should be a good ‘un. Find it on British Cycling here

If your’re looking for an alternative and fancy some fresh air but track cycling is more your thing, NLTCBMBC (that’s the North London Thunder Cats Black Metal Bicycle Club) is holding a track bike/fixed crit race, ThunderCrit, at the Redbridge Cycling Centre. “There will be a 10 lap qualifier, the top 5 from each group will get a starting grid position for the main race. The rest will get a random place on the start grid” explains the club, “The women’s race will be 20 laps, approximately 40 minutes.” Prizes are equal for the men’s and women’s races. Around a hundred men have signed up so far, while the women’s race currently lags behind with 25. More info here.

Team news updates

BsBNewsSouth West-based Bikeshed-Bianchi have been racing all over the place with riders competing as far away as Oxford and Cambridge – but their best result was closer to home at Plymouth, where Emma Cockcroft won the Plymouth Corinthians RR. Click on the image on the right to read their latest news.

Kinetic Cycles-Welwyn Racing, the team set up by the Welwyn Wheelers club to provide development opportunities for young riders, had a very busy fortnight with strong performances in road, circuit and time trials. Read about it here


Lovelo-Cinelli RR – why it was good and why it’ll be even better next year (with photos)


Races this Weekend

One of the biggest races in the UK, this weekend’s Bedford 3-Day consists of five stages (55km RR, 10km TTT, 80km RR, 8km TT, 74km RR) around Great Barford in Bedfordshire between the 30th of April and the 2nd of May. As one of the most popular (and long-standing) women’s races on the calendar, it gets massive support from riders and, being a stand-alone women’s event (ie, no men’s race) it deserves a lot of support from fans too. Find it on British Cycling here


Emma Pooley has come out of retirement to support Lizzie Armitstead in Rio – see them both at the Tour of Yorkshire (photo: Neutral Service)

Yes, it should be three stages like the men’s race is, but the Asda Women’s Tour of Yorkshire is still very much worth seeing – after all, the only other chances we get to see top UCI squads like Wiggle High5, Cylance, Hitec Products and Liv-Plantur and Ale-Cippolini are the Aviva Women’s Tour and RideLondon. Also racing are top British teams Podium Ambition and Drops (both UCI-registered), Les Filles, the Boot Out Breast Cancer CC, Jadan, Ford Ecoboost, Footon-Velosport, WNT, Fusion RT-Fierlan and both Team Breeze and a National team featuring Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley. More details here

There are two women’s races, for E/1/2 and 3/4 riders and both an hour long, at Crits at the Park #3 in Gravesend on Saturday. Find it on British Cycling here

Up in Thirsk, N. Yorkshire, Event 4 of the Prologue Series on Saturday has a race for 2nd, 3rd and 4th Cat. riders. Only seven have signed up so far, but chances are more will enter on the line, and there are also three men’s races. Find it on British Cycling here

Round 2 of the Harvey Hadden Circuit League takes place on Saturday at the Harvey Hadden Sports Village near Nottingham with its brand new 1.5km closed circuit. Only one rider is signed up so far for the Women’s 2/3/4. Find it on British Cycling here


WNT’s Jo Tindley is one of several well-known riders at the Loughborough Uni Crit

Loughborough Uni Campus Crit is on Sunday and has 17 riders signed up for the Cats. 2/3/4 Women so far – among them Jo Tindley of WNT and Nicola Soden, Lou Bates and Sandra Mackay of Velo Schils-Interbike. If you go along, don’t forget to keep your eye on riders from Loughborough Students and other uni teams though – many a world-class rider has been discovered while at university, so you might just spot a star of tomorrow. Find it on British Cycling here

Also on Sunday, Round 2 of the North Devon Wheelers-South Fork Tour of Tesco Youth Series offers a chance to see some of the most up-and-coming young riders in the south-west, but could do with more female entrants for its U8/10/12/14/16 races. Find it on British Cycling here


Harriet Owen of Matrix p/b Corley Cycles is racing at Ixworth on Monday

The Ixworth Crits are taking place in Suffolk on Bank Holiday Monday and feature fifteen categories in nine different races, including U8/10/12/14/16 Girls and E/1/2/3/4 Women – several riders from big teams (Matrix p/b Corley Cycles, Velo Schils-Interbike, Aprire-HSS, Les Filles and Starley Racing) and numerous clubs will be there, as will the large crowds this event always attracts. Find it on British Cycling here. If you see a scruffy-looking hippy taking photos, it’s me and I like being bought pints. 🙂

The fabulous Speedflex Race Team, which supports a number of young female racers, is the organiser of The Thirteen Group Enjoy The Ride Street Races in Middlesbrough Town Centre on Monday. The event is in celebration of Stage 3 of the Tour of Yorkshire, which sets out from the town en route to Scarborough on Sunday. So, if you’re in the area for that (or for the Asda Women’s Tour which, despite being a single-day event rather than three like the men’s race, is obviously the main event 😉 ), why not stay on for an extra day see some more action? Only five women (including Speedflex’s own Sophie Enever, who was the youngest rider in the tough Tour of the Reservoir recently) are signed up for the E/1/2/3/4 race at present, but with so many riders around for the ToY, there should be plenty more by race day. There are also mixed races for U8, U10 and U12, and stand-alone girls races for U14 and U16 – both of which desperately need more riders. Find it on British Cycling here

Hillingdon Slipstreamers have the first round of their Summer Youth Series, at the Hillingdon Circuit, on Monday – an ideal event for new young riders getting their first taste of racing and learning the skills they’ll need to become competitive (and enjoy it). Plenty of spaces are currently available, but if you have a child who’d like to take part talk to the organiser to find out more. Find it on British Cycling here

Bury Clarion hold their annual Circuit Race at the Stephen Burke Circuit in Lancashire on Monday, which includes mixed races for U8/10 (no entries yet; the length for the races as given on BC – 10 and 15hrs respectively, is of course an error), U12, U14 and U16 (a few girls entered, plenty more space) and an E/1/2/3/4 with 13 riders signed up. Entry on the day is available, at a reasonable £15. Find it on British Cycling here

The ORRL Circuit Races at the Great Tew circuit in Oxfordshire on Monday has a race for E/1/2/3/4 Women, though at only 30mins it might not be worth many people’s time to travel. If you’re local, your presence and support for the three women currently signed up might help influence the organiser to extend the race next time. Find it on British Cycling here

Tour of the Reservoir report and gallery

Around the World


Femke van den Driessche (photo: Dimitri Maladry CC BY-SA 4.0)

Van den Driessche receives six-year ban

The Belgian rider, who was found to have in her possession (but did not use, and claimed it belonged to a mechanic) a bike fitted with a concealed motor at the U23 Cyclocross World Championships, will also have all results from the 11th of October 2015 disqualified.

The maximum penalty for “mechanical doping,” as set out in articles 1.3.010 and 12.013bis (Technological fraud) of the UCI regulations is a lifetime ban; the fine imposed upon the rider, CHF20,000, is the lowest permitted by the same regulations, which state a maximum of CHF200,000. More from the UCI

More on the Van den Driessche case here