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British Cycling hires PR expert ahead of findings from independent review

British Cycling pursuit team 2007
Joseph Delves
26 Jan 2017

The report could cause more headaches for the beleaguered organisation

British Cycling has hired an expert in crisis management to handle its PR ahead of the release of an independent review into the organisation.

The Daily Mail reports the national federation has engaged Paddy Harverson, a public relations expert who has previously handled communications for the Royal family.

The appointment comes a month before UK Sport is due to publish its report into ‘the culture within British Cycling’s World Class Programme’, which has also been expanded to look at British Cycling’s relationship with Team Sky.

The organisation has already suffered reputational damage during the separate government Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry into doping in sport, particularly as a result of the testimony of 2008 Olympic champion Nicole Cooke.

The UK Sport investigation comes in the wake of allegations of sexism, and discrimination against paralympic athletes. A former coach also described a ‘culture of fear’ existing within British Cycling’s World Class Programme.

Ian Drake, British Cycling’s chief executive has already stepped down two months earlier than expected. This is despite instigating the independent review, the results of which will now be published after his departure.

Simultaneously Team Sky is the focus of a UK Anti-Doping investigation into the contents of a package delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins during the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné by an employee who was at the time on British Cycling’s payroll.

Appearing before the UK Sport review the Sky chief and former performance director at British Cycling Sir David Brailsford defended the organisation.

‘Listen, I'm demanding. I'm uncompromising in trying to achieve performance. But I don't think I was vindictive, I don't think I was biased, I don't think I was malicious. I don't think I treated people wrongly,’ he said. 

‘What I would imagine is that people who feel wronged will shout about it,’

With the results of UK Sport’s review soon to be released, the ongoing UK Anti Doping investigation and Brailsford due another parliamentary appearance, British Cycling's new PR is likely to have a busy few months. 

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