Sutton takes worlds blame

  • Last Updated: March 3 2014, 23:07 GMT

Shane Sutton has criticised Britain's male riders for a poor performance at last week's Track Cycling World Championships in Colombia but refused to blame their lack of medals on the absence of British Cycling chief Sir Dave Brailsford.

Shane Sutton (r): Absence of Sir Dave Brailsford not to blame
Shane Sutton (r): Absence of Sir Dave Brailsford not to blame

The British squad came home from Cali with just five medals, all of which were claimed by women as the men failed to reach the podium at a world championship for the first time since 1998.

Brailsford was not present in Colombia and has now missed the past two world championships due commitments to his other role as team principal of Team Sky.

Head coach Sutton, however, insisted Brailsford's absence was not a factor in the men's poor results.

"The buck stops with me and I'm big enough to take it," he said. "We weren't having this conversation 12 months ago when Dave wasn't here. For people to start pointing the finger at Dave is unfounded.

"This guy's been the greatest leader in British sport history. His legacy will go on and on."

Britain's men's troubles in Cali began with a worrying eighth place in the team pursuit on the opening day. The squad was not helped by the absence of coach Paul Manning for family reasons and senior riders Steven Burke and Andy Tennant, but Sutton said the result remained a major wake-up call.

"They need to look at themselves," he said. "They got it wrong. They went out for the festive season, came back and weren't where they should have been.

"I have got concerns with the current crop of riders we have got and it's only them that can change. We have just gone backwards and I think the accountability rests with the riders."

Burke didn't make the squad due to a lack of form, meaning Clancy was joined by youngsters Owain Doull, 21, Jon Dibben, 20, and Sam Harrison, 20, in the four-man team.

"I don't think the other boys have got the talent, if I was totally honest," Sutton added. "When you have got a man like Steven Burke not to make the squad, he needs to reflect on where he is going."

Whether Brailsford returns to the British Cycling fold to oversee Britain's recovery from Cali remains to be seen.

He revealed before the championships that he would review his position after the world championships amid personal concerns that he is spreading himself too thinly, and former Olympic champion Chris Boardman has urged the 50-year-old to either commit full-time or walk away altogether.

"I'm not sure about an overhaul, but it needs a boss," he said. "I believe Dave is making a decision on what he is going to do, but it needs a full-time boss.

"Dave would clearly be the best full-time boss, but if he is not going to do that, it might be better if somebody else comes in and takes the reins.

"He is such a character, if he is still there it is difficult for people to go in and take command, but it needs somebody like him. British Cycling is in a period of change now. The potential is all still there. It just might need somebody to pull it all together."


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