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  • David9482

    Let’s start posting the names of these guys…

    • jules

      re-write that in the active voice. who will post the names? and who wants to spend the next few years fighting a defamation lawsuit?

  • Ryan S

    Sexism is a huge problem. Unfortunately the real problem with moving forward is going to be deciphering actual sexism versus general abuse – that same abuse men get too – claimed to be sexism, merely because the resulting victim was a women.

    For instance, this story reveals the late contract switch-a-roo. Men, especially at lower-levels, get screwed on contracts too. That’s bad business by the rider not signing on dotted line or having agency handling it. Because the victim is a women, now it’s labeled sexism all of a sudden?

    Second issue mentioned by all is fat shaming. Our weight as cyclists is a huge issue. Any male team criticizes each other over eating the wrong foods, or packing on pounds during breaks. Watch any backstage videos of male teams and they constantly heckle each other at meal time. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean it’s a taboo subject and ignored.

    Verbal abuse. Everyone gets this. But why’s it sexist to criticize a women versus a man? I remember being yelled at once to, “drag my fatass up the hill” during a race. Had I been a women, it’s now all of a sudden sexism?

    These issues come off as reaching for substance. At best it’s pandering, at worst it’s virtue signaling. I want to hear the *real* sexist issues: TV/media refusing equal coverage, race prize money being different for mens vs womens, sponsors not offering equal support for male vs female equivalent teams, women forced to split their race winnings while male counterparts keep it, male staff intentionally walking in on naked riders, etc.

    • Michele

      You been told to give up cycling and go become a mother, like it’s the only reason why you’re on this earth?

      Yeah, that’s not *real* sexism.

      Isn’t this *real* enough for you:

      “One of my teammates had put up with so much yelling from our DS, that one day she finally started crying and announced she was quitting. Before she left, however, the DS gave her a gift in front of everyone at a team meeting. When she opened it, inside was a fake penis mounted on a trophy base, like an award,” the rider shared. “Then he congratulated her as she held the open box, and told her she earned it, because she was the first woman on the team that he had made cry.”

      I’m pretty sure if I did something like that to one of the female employees I manage, I would be in all sorts of trouble. And so I should be.

      • Ryan S

        And that is different than telling a male cyclist at the end of their career to go get married and start a family, how? It isn’t.

        If you carefully reread my post, I never once denied sexism existing. In fact, it is in my first sentence. What I did counter however, is the belief not every criticism results from sexism. This mentality is overriding fixing sexism in sport. Let’s focus on real sexism, and stop masquerading thin skin, anti-criticism feelings veiled as sexism. If you cannot come to this realization, then there will never be a bridge for everyone to agree on to remedy the problem.

        • Michele

          There is a difference between telling a female cyclist to quit and go have a baby with telling a male to quit and raise and start a family.

          How many times Sutton told a male cyclist to “sod off” and retire. No doubt, a few.

          How many times has he added a “go and start a family” to the end of that “sod off”?

        • jules

          grabbing someone by the shoulders and yelling at them has 2 very different connotations if that someone is a man or a woman.

          if it’s a man with the capacity to neutralise any threat of physical harm, it’s entirely different to a woman who may be more at the mercy of the perpetrator’s physical strength advantage.

          what may be the same action or behaviour directed towards a man and a woman is not judged the same way. the constant bleating by men of “but it happens to men too” completely misses this crucial point. sometimes deliberately, I guess.

          • R S

            OH, the POOR MEN! Oh yes, any time there is an article discussing an issue specific to women, there must always be some clueless man to explain to us weak-minded women how it’s EXACTLY the same for men. Oh, poor you! (in case you need this disclaimer, I’m being sarcastic).

            • Tisne

              If you can’t take the heat @disqus_7DgLe5LcxJ:disqus don’t complain to all of us.

          • Tisne

            Not quite @disqus_bDUiSNPQWN:disqus . The connotation or “intention” is likely the same. What is different to a greater degree is the reception.

            This does not make it sexist however. It also does not make it right, but not sexist.

            • jules

              it doesn’t matter what label you attach to it. but the truth is, most men who would take advantage of physical strength advantage to abuse women wouldn’t try it on with men of similar strength. so in practice it’s not just the reception that’s different.

              • Tisne

                Labels mean a lot, especially under the label of rhetoric.

                I believe the opposite is true. Men who use physical strength as power love to impose it on weaker men. This is actually a very common experience for men. Its street name is “sizing someone up.” It is a law… even when observing species likes silverback gorillas. Not to equate, however, a fair socialization reference with similar DNA.

                and if you mean a man vs. a man of similar size, this is not relevant because most women are not of similar size or strength. Of course I highly denounce men using force against women, but doing so would no be sexist. It would be reprehensible but the metric of the interaction is power and not gender.

                The common reality of women being less powerful than men doesn’t make an imposition of power sexist. That is just male evolutionary domain. To imply a male condition as inherently sexist might actually be a great definition of sexism lol. I’d have to think that one through some more.

        • David9482

          The differences are subtle, but they are important. Agreed the verbal abuse is very comparable between men and women, however male coaches don’t feel the power to physically impede a male athlete in the same way they do a woman. Unfortunately, this is an important difference. For example, how would a young male neo-pro take it if a coach pushed them into a wall? The rider would fight the coach, but with women it’s that subtle change in the nature of the relationship that changes things.

          This is why domestic and abuse needs to be directly addressed and that regular predators need to be dealt with immediately if possible.

        • David9482

          Regarding contract shenanigans – Riders need a real union that negotiates for ALL male and female riders. As it currently stands the riders are at fault because they refuse to really collectively bargain. The CPA on the men’s side is a fake union that is administered by the UCI and the current head is a retired pro who made his $$$. This union HAS to be run by an employment lawyer who can negotiate with ASO, UCI and teams…

  • Rocky

    Back in the ‘day’ all the contract shenanigans, only being paid part of the year, unpaid salaries etc etc. where part and parcel of the average rider in men’s racing. This was along with being sworn at, treated like dirt, no bottles in the feed zone, abandoned at the end of races if the race hadn’t gone well. You carried on because it was really what you wanted to do. I’ve no doubt it might still be that way in some teams in the lower tiers of racing.

    I’m not at all suggesting that this is alright, but let’s be clear on what is sexual discrimination and what is just shockingly bad management.

    • Michele

      Spot on Rocky.

      These women should just shut up. If they love cycling so much, they’d be happy they’ve got a job, no matter how little they get paid. If it’s too hard for them, or they don’t like, they should just shove off. Someone else more deserving can take their place.

      ~ End Sarcasm ~

      There are 2 issues here: abuse and sexism. I’m confident that male cyclists have been abused. As you say, doesn’t make it right.

      In regards to sexism …

      I’m pretty sure the comments made by Varnish, Cooke and Pendleton et al. about sexism in cycling are valid. I’m not sure how many male riders get told to ‘move on a get a baby’. That’s just one comment of many, that EllaCT have reported on over the past 10 or so months.

      • Dawn Richardson

        Males can suffer mistreatment, but the sexual abuse takes it to a completely different level.

    • Ryan S

      Agreed. Like I said in my post below, a lot of it is general abuse that men get too…but the sexism label is attached because victims are women. It coincides directly with special interest mindset going on in society right now because of identify politics.

      • Dawn Richardson

        Sure Ryan, tell us all about one of your coaches trying to get in your pants.

      • R S

        I once asked my boss to stop flirting with me because it made me uncomfortable. I did this one-on-one, (not in front of anyone to embarrass him and tried to be as professional as possible). He put me on all the shittiest projects, embarrassed me in front of my team and clients, and then I was laid off (the only one on my team to be included in company-wide layoffs.) But I guess that has nothing to do with my gender at all. It’s just bad management! I’m amazed at men with no direct first-hand knowledge of a situation feel completely comfortable, entitled even, to discuss that situation with such authority. Wow.

        • Ryan S

          Cool story! In grad school I worked with in all women marketing department for a luxury hotel brand with a half dozen other women. Guess who constantly was voted for all the terrible projects, and guess whose opinion was constantly overlooked (when it often ended up correct)? Our break room even had a labeled “PMS stash” of chocolate for when some claimed they were moody! When a Senior Manager position opened, the dept. head bypassed hiring process by just ‘internally promoting’ her preferred candidate. Of course I am dreaming, because as a submissive cuck male I know it doesn’t go both ways. It’s impossible, because men are physically stronger and can neutralize workplace sexism… [/sarcasm]

  • jules

    as this post quickly becomes hijacked by blokes, I may as well join in…

    this kind of exploitation is almost inevitable in a profession where the employer holds the cards. if you take a heavily unionised profession, employers have less power. because cyclists have so much trouble with them, I’ll pick on baggage handlers. they can throw your bike, or guitar, because they are unionised and they know their employer can’t touch them unless someone happens to be videoing from their plane seat. and even then, probably not.

    by its nature, pro cycling cannot be a ‘touch one, touch all’ profession. a pro’s contract is inherently at risk. that’s the nature of the sport (profession), in which being contested by the best riders necessitates employers being able to turnover employees with relative ease.

    I’m not excusing exploitation or sexism. there are ways to address it – they’re just not going to stem from the power imbalance between rider and team. the UCI stepping in would be an obvious starting point.

  • “There is a valid concern that many teams might fall out of the UCI and disband altogether if these standards were rigidly enforced, which in turn could put riders and staff out of work.”

    I can’t agree that this concern is valid. This kind of abuse is just unacceptable. It’s not just the price of doing business, it’s actually doing continuous damage to the sport and the people who are a part of it. How many talented and committed athletes have just walked away because of this sort of crap? How many sponsors hear stories like this and are frightened off? If it means risking a bit of short term pain while some bad actors are booted out of the sport, surely that’s in the medium and long-term interest of the sport and the athletes? If the UCI is not going to enforce its own standards, what’s the point of having them?

    • Gavin Adkins

      Spot. On.

    • jules

      the problem is that pro cycling and especially women’s pro cycling hangs by a thread. races are already falling over, and that’s while a blind eye is being turned to rider exploitation.

      I agree wholly the UCI must uphold standards and that the abuse is unacceptable. but it probably does need to be done carefully. the nasty truth is that some of these predators are probably also financially propping up teams and events. that’s no excuse of course.

      Often the real, lasting solutions don’t come from directly addressing the symptom. Making women’s cycling more viable in a similar way that AFL is viable would better empower the riders. as long as it’s a side show, the riders will continue to be at the mercy of pay masters.

    • Ryan S

      The easiest solution is simply hire more women (presuming they are qualified candidates of course)! And based on current trends, the industry is thankfully heading that way. The olden days of a womens team being exclusively run by all men is slowly fading into the backlight.

    • em3900

      i can’t believe it took so many comments before someone pointed this bit out!
      If teams folding is more concerning than well being of athletes, there is a very warped sense of ethics from the very top.

  • a.t.

    This is a bleak consequence of a much bigger problem. With no resources to pay qualified people, teams depend on ‘volunteer predators’ who feed off the vulnerability of others. It’s not cultural, dependant on nationality – it’s purely economics. I rode on an American team watching the director belittle an anorexic rider, and Italian team that kicked me off for missing a ’22:30 curfew’, then a Dutch team who at the last minute informed me my (already laughable) salary was to cover travel and team expenses. The QOL got pretty crap, and enough was enough.

    • Ryan S

      Overall I agree with you. It all boils down to cycling’s business model: it doesn’t work. Cycling operates now basically as a charity, fully dependant in handouts. It’s not sustainable. Sure, tactics have changed in that teams have gone after bigger sponsors with deeper pockets, which is why the sport is still afloat, but at some point everyone’s pockets will be empty. There is no brand value in anything.

  • lauren o’keefe

    Sigh. Why is it that every time an article like this comes out, so many men jump up and down shouting about how it’s not just women suffering from whatever it is the article is about? Why is so hard to give us some breathing space to talk about issues that are affecting us without making it all about you?

    Anyhoo… I wholeheartedly agree that the contract shenanigans apply to both men and women but I would argue it happens to a higher level in the women’s domain. And of course it needs to stop for everyone.

    • Tisne

      People voice these things because they understand that false narrative is dangerous and is becoming more common, most notably, under “feminism.”

  • Tisne

    Many of these things are not sexist. They are things that all cyclists deal with.

    That said, some of this could be classified as sexist, however it is not as though sexism is purely construction and that men just need to stop (as if they can). It is the “ethnocentrism” of sex, and it is a tribal bias structure that is a proclivity so deeply rooted in evolution that no one really stands above. It is nationalism, school pride, racism, republican vs democrat, straight vs gay; it is everything. The misconception is that male female interaction is one where men assert dominance to the effect that they strip women of their humanity, however this is not the case. Men assert dominance and strip women only of their right to be male, which is the tribal proclivity i mentioned above. The good news is that women assert dominance and strip men of any chance to be female (all the time!). The only problem is that it is often the case that the metrics of power for male mammals are more overt, and maybe therefor more desirable at a glance. However women have a host of metrics where they win in equal proportion.

    It follows that these comments about “mens coaches never want to get in their pants” aren’t really all that valid, because, that is the human narrative. The fact that he is your boss or coach doesn’t matter. That is the smallest fragment to the reality of our existence. It is a mere blip in human social structure that we even have things like schools or work. The externalization be it a cat call or a creepy guy is an indicator of his poor socialization, (and yes I do believe gross men are awful) however the underpinning physiology is the same even if he is a gentleman, and so the social dialectic remains in how men view women.

    We can be kind and courteous, however women and men will never see each other as equal, nor will democrats and conservatives, or harvard and yale… because they aren’t. They are tribes and they are different and the odd man out will always feel marginalized. We can all settle down into human and feel like one tribe, but the entropy often bursts into chaos once again.

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