A former British Olympic cyclist has been arrested on suspicion of rape and indecent assault, according to reports.
The Mail on Sunday has claimed that the retired rider – who cannot be named for legal reasons – has been bailed while an investigation into the allegations is carried out.
According to the report, since retiring from racing the rider has “held a prominent position in professional cycling” and has “worked with some of the biggest names” in the sport.
In a statement, a British Cycling spokesperson said: “Abuse of any kind has no place in sport. We urge anybody with concerns about non-recent or current abuse to report them either directly to the British Cycling safeguarding team by emailing compliance [at] britishcycling.org.uk, or through the NSPCC’s free and independent helpline by calling 0800 614 458.”
The news adds to what has already been a turbulent year for the national governing body. In April, British Cycling suspended its transgender and non-binary participation policy, a week after the UCI barred trans cyclist Emily Bridges from competing in the national omnium championships.
While the organisation claimed that the current system, now under review, is “unfair on all women riders and poses a challenge to the integrity of racing”, Bridges’ mother Sandy Sullivan said that the announcement effectively meant that her daughter was “dumped by email”.
In September, British Cycling apologised for issuing controversial guidance which recommended that cyclists in the UK should avoid riding their bikes during Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral and procession, following an online backlash.
Less than a month later, the governing body was at the centre of yet another storm of its own making, after cyclists across the country reacted with dismay and anger to the news that British Cycling had signed an eight-year partnership deal with oil and gas multinational Shell.
The deal prompted widespread accusations that British Cycling were “facilitating greenwashing” by partnering with Shell (with several cyclists threatening to cancel their memberships), though six-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy defended the controversial partnership by claiming that it could help put cycling on the oil giant’s “agenda”.
Just weeks after the deal was announced, however, the body’s CEO Brian Facer stepped down from his role “with immediate effect,” with the decision said to have been taken “by mutual agreement with the board of directors.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.