Cycling New Zealand high-performance director Martin Barras has resigned from his position ©Cycling New Zealand

Cycling New Zealand high-performance director Martin Barras has resigned following confirmation of an "integrity breach" at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) commissioned an independent investigation in September, led by barrister Don Mackinnon, after being notified of a possible breach.

The NZOC said the investigation revealed the process to replace an athlete during a cycling event at Tokyo 2020 had not been conducted according to International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Cycling Union (UCI) rules.

The organisation said this also amounted to a breach of both NZOC agreements and IOC rules of conduct and participation at the Olympic Games.

"The IOC has been briefed on the investigation and its findings and is satisfied with the action taken by the NZOC," the NZOC said in a statement.

"The investigation took place under conditions of confidentiality and anonymity for the interviewees involved and respect for those unfairly impacted by the breach.

"As such the report will not be released publicly."

The breach reportedly did not relate to any medal-winning performances at Tokyo 2020.

The NZOC added that findings had been passed on to Cycling New Zealand, which was conducting an internal process.

High-performance director Barras has now resigned from his position at the national governing body.

Cycling New Zealand chief executive Jacques Landry, who said he initially contacted the NZOC over the potential integrity breach, stressed Barras was not directly involved in the incident.

Landry, however, noted that as high-performance director Barras was ultimately responsible for the conduct of the New Zealand cycling team at the Olympic Games.

New Zealand was represented by a 15-member track cycling team at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
New Zealand was represented by a 15-member track cycling team at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

"He has therefore tendered his resignation, which I have accepted," Landry said.

"Cycling New Zealand was extremely disappointed to learn of this incident.

"The Code of Conduct has been made patently clear to everyone, especially since it was strengthened after 2018."

Landry said Cycling New Zealand acknowledged the valuable contribution Barras had made since starting his role in November 2017.

Amy Taylor has been appointed as interim high-performance director.

She is currently the organisation’s high-performance Para cycling transition manager, as well as high-performance coach development manager.

Barras' departure comes days after it was confirmed Landry will step down as Cycling New Zealand chief executive at the end of 2021, after three years in the role.

Landry has led the organisation since January 2019, after spending 10 years as high-performance director at Cycling Canada.

"He has been unable to leave the country and visit his family overseas for over two years because of ongoing delays in assessing his residency application, and there is no certainty at all over when the situation might be resolved," said Phil Holden, Cycling New Zealand chair.

"For his own personal wellbeing and that of his family, Mr Landry has made the difficult decision to leave, and we fully support him in that."

Landry had reportedly notified Cycling New Zealand of his intention to leave in June.

The official delayed his departure due to work associated with establishing an independent inquiry, which Holden said Landry had been instrumental in helping to set up.

Cycling New Zealand chief executive Jacques Landry will leave the organisation at the end of 2021 ©Cycling New Zealand
Cycling New Zealand chief executive Jacques Landry will leave the organisation at the end of 2021 ©Cycling New Zealand

An independent inquiry was launched in August following the death of Olivia Podmore.

Podmore had qualified for Tokyo 2020 but was not selected.

The independent inquiry is expected to assess the adequacy of the changes made in the wake of the 2018 Heron Review into the High Performance Programme of Cycling New Zealand.

The 2018 review was overseen by Michael Heron, which looked into allegations of bullying, inappropriate behaviour, inappropriate personal relationships, a drinking culture, lack of accountability and a lack of follow-up care.

Allegations have been made that Podmore was pressured by Cycling New Zealand to lie to the review in 2018.

Holden has praised Landry’s work at the organisation and said he will continue to make himself available to the inquiry panel.

"Mr Landry has made a major contribution to the organisation during his tenure, and we’re sad to lose him," Holden said.

"He arrived after the 2018 Heron Review, and his immediate task was to get on and implement its recommendations.

"Since that time, he has led key changes including setting up an Athletes Voice Committee, greatly strengthening the Code of Conduct and revamping our policies and processes.

"Mr Landry has personally role-modelled the values we aspire to. He is highly regarded within Cycling New Zealand and the wider cycling community, and has deepened the relationship with our four member organisations, sponsors and funding partners.”

"Under his watch Cycling New Zealand has also completed its 2021-28 High Performance Strategic Plan, put in place an overarching strategic plan and initiated other major changes including the integration of Para cycling into the organisation."