British Cycling sacks coach for ‘inappropriate relationships’ with riders

Sport

British Cycling has sacked the coach entrusted with helping Jason Kenny become Britain’s most successful Olympian in Tokyo next year for gross misconduct after “repeated warnings that his behaviours fell short of the standards expected”.

Kevin Stewart, who raced as a sprinter for Scotland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, had been part of the coaching team supporting the men’s sprint squad that included the six-times Olympic champion Kenny.

In the latest controversy to engulf cycling’s governing body at the same time as Dr Richard Freeman is facing a medical tribunal into his conduct while working for British Cycling and Team Sky, the organisation said it was unhappy with Stewart’s long-term pattern of inappropriate relationships with riders and that his actions brought British Cycling into disrepute.

An investigation found no evidence of a physical relationship with one of its riders but cited “inappropriate use of electronic communication”.

In a statement on the British Cycling website, Stewart – who is married to Ireland’s international track cyclist Robyn Stewart – apologised for his actions “which I acknowledge were not acceptable”. He added: “I realised my actions had made my position on the team untenable and had handed in my resignation before being dismissed while on my notice period.”

British Cycling’s performance director, Stephen Park, said: “While this has been uncomfortable for everybody concerned, it demonstrates the robustness of the processes we have in place when concerns are raised.

“The Great Britain Cycling Team has a clear set of expected behaviours and values and we must hold ourselves and each other to account when we do not meet the standards of behaviour we set as a team.”

Stewart was expected to be at the forefront of Kenny’s challenge in Tokyo next year, having been promoted from his position in the academy in April 2019. But it is understood riders were informed of Stewart’s dismissal in an email sent by British Cycling that detailed his alleged misdemeanours, including “a serious act of insubordination by failing to follow specific direction of the performance director in regard to relationships with riders and professional boundaries”.

Kenny is likely to again compete in the keirin, sprint and team sprint – the three titles he won in 2016 – in Tokyo and needs one gold medal to surpass Sir Chris Hoy’s tally.

Stewart’s sacking came the day after British Cycling announced Brian Facer – the current CEO of London Irish – will take over as chief executive, replacing Julie Harrington in January. He faces a busy schedule with Freeman’s tribunal continuing in Manchester.

On Monday, Freeman was accused of trying to frame coach Shane Sutton over the testosterone scandal as an act of revenge. The former Team Sky and British Cycling has accepted 18 of the 22 charges against him, including that he ordered testosterone to the British Cycling velodrome and lied to UK Anti‑Doping, but he has repeatedly denied using drugs to dope a rider.

British Cycling has sacked the coach entrusted with helping Jason Kenny become Britain’s most successful Olympian in Tokyo next year for gross misconduct after “repeated warnings that his behaviours fell short of the standards expected”.

Kevin Stewart, who raced as a sprinter for Scotland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, had been part of the coaching team supporting the men’s sprint squad that included the six-times Olympic champion Kenny.