Becky James: Welsh cyclist backs British Cycling after damning leaked report

Becky James
Becky James won silver in the keirin and sprint at Rio 2016

Double Olympic silver medallist Becky James has backed British Cycling after the organisation was criticised in a leaked draft report.

The claims emerged from an investigation into alleged failings in the organisation's culture.

British Cycling responded by admitting it did not pay "sufficient care and attention" to staff and athletes well being at the expense of winning medals.

But James said: "I've had an amazing experience with British Cycling."

Published in the Daily Mail, the leaked report claims British Cycling "sanitised" its own probe into claims former coach Shane Sutton used sexist language towards Jess Varnish.

It also spoke of a "culture of fear", with some staff "bullied" and said weak leadership allowed first Sir Dave Brailsford, described as an "untouchable" figure, and then Sutton to work without supervision as British Cycling chiefs, creating a "dysfunctional structure".

In October of 2016, British Cycling found Sutton, who has left the organisation, guilty on one from nine charges of using sexist language towards Varnish who was dropped from British Cycling's elite programme in April.

Sutton under scrutiny

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British cycling under the microscope - The film trailer

James said she was unaware of the leaked report and the subsequent British Cycling statement.

She has outlined the role Sutton played in her recovery from almost two years of injury and illness which culminated in battling back to win two silver Olympic medals in Rio.

"I didn't work very closely with Dave but I work closely with Shane," James told BBC Radio Wales.

"He was the one that supported me through my injuries, he was the one that believed in me getting to Rio.

"He pushed me through my training and believed in me.

"He told me if I trained hard and knuckled down that I could get to Rio and I did and I won silver medals.

"I've always had support from British Cycling."

Post Olympics break

Becky James
Becky James celebrates during the medal ceremony after winning silver the Women's Sprint Finals race at Rio

The 25-year-old has not returned to full training yet and will not compete in the World Championships in Hong Kong next month.

"It's been amazing [since the Olympics]," said James.

"It takes a long time to sink in. I have loved my life and enjoyed every minute of it.

"I have worked so hard and it's been like a bubble. It's nice to live in the real world for a bit.

"It's natural for riders [to take a break] after an Olympics and I have seen people benefit from it.

"It's hard to get back but I am still young and I have needed this break mentally and physically and have enjoyed it.

"I have learned so much about myself in the year leading up to Rio. This will benefit me in the long term."

Future goals

Gold Coast
The 2018 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony will take place at the Carrara Stadium in Queensland, Australia

The Commonwealth Games will be held on the Gold Coast in 2018 while the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo looms.

"Once I start back full-time training, that's where I know where I am at and set my targets and what my long-term goals are," said James.

"It is something for me to sit down and see where I want to get to.

"It is just ticking over at the moment, getting fit on the road and getting strong in the gym before building up the next event."

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