Angry letters were penned. Brian Cookson, the boss of the UCI, had a good crack at the alleged perpetrators of this fashion crime on Twitter, where he vowed to take action against an offence that he believed was “unacceptable by any standard of decency”.
Well Brian, bro, I present to you another standard of decency: mine. For mine, women who want to go race bikes can do so, and without being harassed by powerful men who get offended by their appearance.
I don’t want to get all feminist and say something like “this is what patriarchy looks like Brian”. But if I did it would be a valid point here. If Brian’s concern was that the women had been forced to wear a degrading garment, and therefore humiliated, then I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. However, the evidence shows that’s not the case.
The reality is that this is a story as old as casual sexism itself: “Women do something in public, public complains about their clothes”. Let’s avoid that story from now on.
This is a hiccup in a good process, in a sport that is learning to accept women. We – and I’m speaking predominantly to my fellow lads here – just need to take moments like this to check ourselves and think whether the way we treat women in our sport is ok."
But as we made another sweeping left hand corner Vos looked behind her and obviously didn’t like what she saw. She swung out leaving Anna and Lucinda Brand a bike length in front of me. Do I swing with her or do I stay here at the front and hope Lucinda takes me to at least 200metres to go?
Letting go of Marianne Vos’ wheel is almost as hard as accepting that Santa isn’t real. If you’re lucky enough to have her wheel, usually you’ll fight tooth and nail to keep it.
People talk about life decisions; if you make one decision your life will take one path and if you make another decision it will go on a completely different tangent. That’s what this decision felt like. I chose to stay at the front and with Lucinda."
For those who don’t know you, describe yourself a bit.
I am focused, I love cycling and I think cycling is my life. I love my family and it is hard sometimes living far from them during the season. During the races I can seem shy or even worse nasty but I try to keep my concentration as much as I can, off the bike I am totally a different person: i like laughing, joking and living a normal life as a girl of 25 years old. I like studying, I graduated in Sport Sciences in Minsk and this winter I start studying again at Belarussian National University to become a Lawyer.
You know that your name is one of the most difficult to pronounce in the women’s peloton… what is the funniest pronounciation you have heard?
You make me laugh! Even our press manager was making mistakes at the beginning of the season! You have to know that my surname is misspelled by many, but my name Alena is really impossible to be pronounced by non-russian speaking people.
When I decided to go for the dream of making the 2012 Olympic team, there was an immense amount of vulnerability I had to overcome to get there, because I sucked many, many times in training. Many times, I was not strong enough, I was not the best, I was not perfect. I was tired, I was scared, I was lonely, I was injured, I felt worthless and unworthy. I mean come on, it was me, the anorexic, drug addicted loser who was going after this lofty goal only 1% of the population has ever achieved.
I found I must surrender to vulnerability and walk into it, to come out strong. Only through experiencing all the weakness in vulnerability, can you come out strong. You have to go through it, get uncomfortable, be brave, and lay it on the line."
1. It’s not the national team or the national team kit
It’s the colours of IDRD-Bogotá Humana-San Mateo-Solgar, who the Colombian Federation proudly announced would be competing in the Giro Del Toscana2. It’s not flesh or nude, it’s gold
There are numerous tweets to this effect from people who have been paying attention. Lycra done as gold effect never photographs well. It’s unfortunate, but…
<a href=”http://www.chasingwheels.com/road-racing/professional-road-racing/5-things-you-should-know-about-that-colombian-cycling-kit”>5 things you should know about that Colombian cycling kit | Chasing Wheels cycling blog</a>
I am amazed at the shocked outcry over the IDRD-Bogotá Humana-San Mateo-Solgar kit - I RTed it and blogged it myself, because I thought it was a fugly kit, and I enjoy fugly kits, but I’m amazed by the ton of people shouting SEXISM! and getting madly outraged.
Brian Cookson has weighed in on it, as apparently people complained to the UCI, which is interesting - I’ve complained about, and asked for comment on races which riders said were genuinely dangerous to ride because of traffic on the course, and riders who haven’t been paid and are complaining about bad treatment, but somehow the UCI can’t comment on <i>that</i>.
And then there’s the fact that the complaints about this kit are about the illusion of nudity (in some lights) when I have seen far too much close-up anatomical detail of male riders’ genitalia in white and red shorts, and whole arses in see-through skinsuits, which makes me wonder why the illusion of nudity is more shocking than those photos where we can see exactly how excited male cyclists are. I mean, if I talk about pictures of cycling teams telling the time, or communicating in semaphore, I bet you know what I mean.
Anyway, as always, Alex Murray makes some really great points, and unpicks some of the truths behind this - and yeah, in a week where we hear about Estado de Mexico-Faren not paying riders, and the Giro Toscana went ahead, despite being demonstrably dangerous last year, I am interested in why this is what Cookson and the UCI respond to, and why the press have gone crazy… depressing