British Cycling's Shane Sutton rejects Nicole Cooke criticism

Nicole Cooke
Welsh cyclist Nicole Cooke won the Olympic and World road race championships in 2008.

British Cycling's technical director Shane Sutton has rejected a claim by 2008 Olympic champion Nicole Cooke that he "vetoed" a plan for her challenge for Commonwealth gold in 2010.

Cooke, 31, told BBC Radio Wales she had proposed developing Welsh riders to support her in the road race in Delhi.

"Shane came down and basically vetoed the whole thing," she said.

Sutton responded: "I was not involved with the Welsh preparations so... I can totally refute that."

Cooke retired in January 2013 after a glittering career which saw her become the first woman to complete the Olympic and World Championship road race double in the the same year.

Since then Cooke has been an outspoken critic of sexism and drug use in cycling, and has just published an autobiography.

Nicole Cooke's winning record
Olympics: Gold medal, road race, Beijing 2008.
Commonwealth Games: Gold medal, road race, Manchester 2002. Bronze medal, road race, Melbourne 2006.
World Championship Road Race: Gold medal, Varese 2008. Silver, Madrid 2005. Bronze, Hamilton 2003 and Salzburg 2006

Sutton was a coach with Welsh Cycling until joining the British Cycling set-up in 2002 - the year Cooke won the road race at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

He has praised her as one of cycling's all-time greats.

Cooke won a bronze at Melbourne in 2006 behind Australians Natalie Bates and Oenone Wood, who she said benefitted from having strong support riders.

"I put a plan together with the Welsh Cycling Union to develop the girls that would then support me for the Delhi road race," said Cooke.

Sutton said he was surprised by Cooke's claims about the 2010 Commonwealth road race, in which she finished fifth.

"I think Nicole maybe has to revisit that statement because I had no dealing with Nicole whatsoever in Delhi," he said.

"She was part of the Welsh team so I don't know where it's come from.

"From my point of view, I was head coach of British Cycling at the time and I was not involved with the Welsh preparations."

Sutton claimed British Cycling had an enviable record of success with elite women's cycling.

"It's disappointing to hear all that [criticism]," he said.

"Our record with the elite women stands above the best in the world. We've matched every nation if not bettered them.

"We're very honoured and very proud of what [Nicole] achieved in 2008."

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