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by Mark Zalewski
February 9, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Right-hand man: Roche dedicated to putting Porte into Tour de France yellow; Sexism and abuse in women’s cycling: A dozen pros share their experiences, anonymously; British Cycling review report delayed over legalities; Keagan Girdlestone competes in first race since crash; Meeusen feeling left out by Team, Nys; Bruyneel responds to 60 Minutes report on motor doping; New Energy Tour set to replace World Ports Classic; Speed bumps placed in cycle lane to ‘protect’ cyclists; Cancellara’s final Flanders bike sells for €16,100; 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour teaser; WeLeaf:The first 4,000 kilometers; When dodgy former Olympic doctors have to find a new gig.
As we’ve heard from Genevieve Jeanson and Bridie O’Donnell in our recent articles, there is a dark legacy of abuse and sexism in the sport of cycling. Once a few brave women spoke out, more and more women came forward, making it apparent that this cycle of sexism and abuse continues today and sadly, it’s universal. Thus far we have heard from several top riders in the UK, Australia’s Bridie O’Donnell, Canada’s Genevieve Jeanson, retired Dutch riders Petra de Bruin and Marijn de Vries, and American track rider Missy Erickson.
But most riders aren’t comfortable to go on record publicly and so Joe Harris and Steve Maxwell of The Outer Line recently asked 12 pro cyclists about the sexism and harassment still occurring in women’s cycling. Protected by anonymity, the women shared their personal accounts, insights and some of their recommendations about what needs to change inside the sport in order to break these cycles of abuse.
The group of cyclists interviewed represented five nationalities, and among them, three women are current or former members of top-five UCI teams, four race in the lower-half of the top-ten UCI teams, and the others race or have raced at lower levels of women’s pro cycling.
In sharing their experiences, the athletes revealed three types of common abuse: financial manipulation, psychological control and physical abuse.
“While some of these abuses have also been noted in the men’s sport, for the women these problems are pervasive, and they reinforce a culture which is indisputably sexist. This culture frequently puts women into situations which would not be tolerated in any other professional workplace,” Harris and Maxwell stated.
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