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by Mark Zalewski
December 15, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Dutch cycling federation launches investigation into harassment as riders speak out; Cadel’s Race gets curtain-raiser crit on Melbourne’s Albert Park F1 circuit; Peter Sagan considering using disc brakes for 2017 Paris-Roubaix; Tiesj Benoot extends with Lotto Soudal until 2019; Ekimov elected as president of Russian Cycling Federation; Team UniSA-Australia names Tour Down Under first four; Geraint Thomas unable to defend Commonwealth Games title; Rohan Dennis still eyeing hour record; Joe Dombrowski’s uphill hour record; Latour breaks finger during training camp; Amador fined for riding on highway; Thieves use cycling apps to target victims; Movistar’s holiday season video.
When British track cyclist Jessica Varnish opened up about sexist behaviour and discrimination within British Cycling in April, a number of renowned British cyclists soon followed suit. Lizzie Deignan, Emma Pooley, Nicole Cooke and Laura Kenny spoke out in support of Varnish, and British Cycling’s technical director Shane Sutton resigned amidst the controversy.
Triggered by recent revelations of sexual abuse in British football clubs, former Dutch pro cyclist Marijn de Vries admitted to being intimidated and even inappropriately touched by soigneurs in the past. In a column for Dutch newspaper Trouw, she wrote: “There was the mechanic, who regularly pressed me against the wall and shouted at me for no reason. There was the soigneur who managed to touch my ‘lips’ every once in a while during massage. I doubted myself. I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t want any fuss. And I was 30! I had a lot more life experience than my 18-year-old teammates, who lay down on his massage table too.”
With the publication of De Vries’ column, the Dutch cycling federation KNWU, of which De Vries is member of the board, announced to have started preparations for a large-scale investigation into (sexual) intimidation. In a statement, the KNWU announced that the recent developments in British football was an extra incentive “to do proactive research on this topic within the Dutch cycling sport”.
Anne Loes Kokhuis, KNWU’s commercial affairs manager, told Ella CyclingTips that the initiative for this investigation was taken months ago, but that De Vries’ column provided the right opportunity to go public with it.
“The events at British cycling, with the track riders specifically, was our motive to start this investigation. But the CIRC report of February 2015, which describes ‘(large-scale) acts of intimidation within women’s cycling’ was also a very pressing reason for the KNWU to start a similar investigation in the Netherlands.” The investigation will be closely monitored by Instituut Sport Rechtspraak (the ‘Sports Law Institute’).
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