Cycling: Crisis talks hit boiling point as fallout to Tokyo Olympic integrity breach leads to another high profile resignation

Crisis talks on Friday were ongoing at Cycling New Zealand (CNZ), after the organisation was found to have breached the integrity standards at the Tokyo Olympics.

After being alerted by CNZ, the New Zealand Olympic Committee conducted an independent investigation through Don Mackinnon. 

Mackinnon found a major breach of the rules around conduct and participation during the Tokyo Olympics, leading to the resignation of High Performance Director Martin Barras.

"As an organisation who stands for integrity and respect and athletes well being and performance, where we've landed is deeply disappointing," NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith tells Newshub.

Smith won't elaborate on the exact details of the breach, citing confidentiality, but multiple CNZ sources tell Newshub it was related to the replacement of Sam Dakin for the final round of the men's team sprint.

Dakin was replaced by Callum Saunders for the race and Newshub understands that was to allow Saunders to race the Keirin.

But Saunders was a travelling reserve, so could only participate if another rider was ruled out with illness or injury.

It's understood it's on that matter where CNZ allegedly misled IOC and UCI officials.

The list of those in the know is understood to run deep at CNZ, with sources saying the plan to ride Saunders in the Keirin was in place well before the Tokyo Games got underway, but was ultimately shut down by the NZOC.

The idea stemmed from, now former, High Performance director Martin Barras, as well as sprint coach Rene Wolff - the latter who is understood to have had his resignation accepted by CNZ.

"Sadly, this is a first and it is significant," Smith says of the integrity breach. 

"It was obvious that we needed to proceed and do an independent process."

Rene Wolff
Rene Wolff Photo credit: Photosport

The integrity breach is the latest in a long line of missteps by CNZ.

In May 2018 then sprint coach Anthony Peden quit .. leading to a review by Michael Heron QC which found a culture of bullying and inappropriate behaviour.

A month later CEO Andrew Matheson stepped down, and the waters appeared to calm.

Then in August this year, Olivia Podmore tragically died, with CNZ announcing another inquiry into its culture.

Earlier this week, CEO Jacques Landry announced his resignation, before today's integrity breach bombshell.

"The process has been independent, it's been of high integrity and it's been thorough," Smith said of Mackinnon's inquiry into the breach."