UCI protest leads to E3 Harelbeke dropping sexist poster

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Responding to widespread criticism about a controversial poster released by the organisers of the E3 Harelbeke semi-Classic in March, the UCI has forced those organisers to drop their usage of the image in question.

Earlier this week the organisers released the image, which showed the rear view of a young woman with a skirt blowing upwards and exposing underwear with the race’s logo on them.

To the left of the woman, a rider’s arm is visible, reaching to grasp her exposed behind.

The caption read Wie ‘knijpt’ ze in Harelbeke’, translating as ‘who squeezes them in Harelbeke?’

The photo and caption appeared to be a reference to Peter Sagan’s decision to pinch a podium girl during the podium presentation at the 2013 Tour of Flanders.

He later apologised for his actions and presented the woman in question with flowers in order to make amends.

Following the cacophony of complaints, the UCI has now issued a statement making its opposition clear and reporting that the image in question will no longer be used.

“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) was extremely unhappy with the promotional poster of the 2015 E3 Harelbeke,” it said.

“We have reminded the organiser of its responsibility and the UCI Regulations and they have agreed to take off the poster from all communication platforms.”

This is not the first time those organisers have resorted to such publicity: past editions of the race have used images of naked women to publicise the event.

The latest development will be interpreted as both the power of social media to influence change and also the UCI’s growing consideration of women’s cycling.

The governing body has invested in this side of the sport in an attempt to help it grow.

Image: Peter Sagan in the 2013 E3 Harelbeke race.

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