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Damning review finds ‘dysfunctional culture’ within Cycling NZ’s high performance programme

A review into the Cycling New Zealand High Performance programme has found the allegations revealed by 1 NEWS about former head sprint coach Anthony Peden are true.

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Peden is accused of bullying and an inappropriate relationship with an athlete. Source: 1 NEWS

Michael Heron QC has spent the past five months looking into the culture at the sporting organisation and released his findings this morning.

In his 84-page report, he identified instances of bullying, an inappropriate relationship between Peden and one of the female athletes he coached and a dysfunctional culture which Cycling NZ failed to deal with.

"The Cycling NZ response was ineffective and inadequate."

He also found High Performance Sport New Zealand knew of the issues and should have done more to ensure they were dealt with.

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It found a toxic culture and an inappropriate relationship between a coach. Source: 1 NEWS

"HPSNZ ought to take some responsibility for the cultural and leadership issues identified."

In regards to the relationship, the report specifically details an incident that happened weeks out from the Rio Olympics at a training camp in Bordeaux, France where Peden and the athlete remained in town drinking alone.

At 2:30am, "the coach and the athlete returned in a taxi to the team hotel. They were clearly intoxicated. A witness at the hotel describes seeing 'an intimate moment between them'."

Heron goes on to reveal how a young female athlete and the team manager were put under pressure to lie or not speak about the incident during an investigation.

For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Neither Peden nor the female athlete he had a relationship with participated in the review but both gave feedback on the report in its draft stage.

In a statement, which Peden's lawyer insisted was included in full, he says "the report is grossly inaccurate in many respects" and based on "anecdote, hearsay, gossip and rumour".

However, he declined to "critique the many errors in the report... because that may only lead to the airing of further untruths and inaccuracies". He added that he's reflected on his behaviour and is committed to ensuring "no criticism can be legitimately levelled at him in the future".

In his summary, Mr Heron identified shortcomings in the high performance system including no way to escalate and deal with situations like these. He also says his findings suggest the current system may not give enough priority to athlete and participant welfare.

See Abby Wilson's full coverage of the Cycling New Zealand saga

May 30: Exclusive: Kiwi cyclists accuse NZ coach Anthony Peden, who has stepped down, of inappropriate behaviour and bullying

May 31: High Performance Sport NZ announces formal investigation into allegations against former Cycling NZ coach

June 1: Exclusive: Former Cycling NZ coach had access to deeply personal and damning confidential athlete interviews with HPSNZ

June 2: Exclusive: More people coming forward to speak out against Cycling NZ's handling of departed coach Anthony Peden

June 2: Exclusive: NZ cycling coach needed medical treatment during 2016 Rio Olympic Games after consuming alcohol

June 5: 'Controlling and intimidating' - More details emerge of Anthony Peden's inappropriate behaviour while coaching at Cycling NZ

June 8: Man who led review into All Blacks failed 2007 World Cup to investigate allegations against Cycling NZ & HPSNZ

June 18: Exclusive: Independent investigation into High Performance Sport NZ, Cycling NZ already under fire

August 30: Independent Review into Cycling NZ fails to meet deadline