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British Cycling chief Shane Sutton resigns amid discrimination allegations

Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Shane Sutton has resigned as British Cycling technical director.

The 58-year-old Australian tendered his resignation after another day of allegations of discrimination.

"I believe it is in the best interests of British Cycling for me to step down from my position as technical director," he said in a statement released by the national governing body.

British Cycling suspended Sutton on Tuesday after it was claimed he called Paralympic cyclists "gimps", shortly after announcing an independent review into claims of sexism made by Jess Varnish.

Wednesday marked 100 days to August's 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and Sutton quit.

He said: "It is absolutely crucial that, as our athletes begin their final preparations for Rio, they are able to do so free of distraction.

"The developments over the past few days have clearly become a distraction.

"It is for this reason, and having spoken to friends and family, that I believe it is in the best interests of British Cycling for me to step down from my position as technical director."

British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake said: "I understand and respect Shane's decision to stand down.

"His primary focus has always been the athletes, and this decision is something he has taken to allow them to focus on their preparation for Rio.

"Andy Harrison, programmes director at British Cycling, will be taking over with immediate effect and will manage the team in the build-up to Rio 2016."

Sutton continues to refute the allegations and will take part in the independent review.

He added: "It is important that the review announced by British Cycling and UK Sport now takes place, and I will obviously co-operate fully with this.

"I have made clear that I reject the specific claims that have been made against me in recent days, and I look forward to taking a full part in the review process so I can respond to the allegations in detail."

Sutton succeeded Sir Dave Brailsford as British Cycling chief in 2014. Sutton, as head coach, was then-performance director Brailsford's key lieutenant in the British team which won eight gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Sutton is a blunt character, but there are many riders who will have had only positive experiences of his coaching and who enjoyed good working relationships with him.

He added: "Cycling is my passion and I have always worked to get the very best out of professional athletes. I am proud of what British Cycling has achieved and I am excited by the potential of the team for Rio. They will always have my full support."