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Condemned by viewers as 'sexist' and 'harassment'...

Peter Sagan has been criticised for a photograph that shows him pinching the bottom of a podium girl after he was placed second in the Tour of Flanders yesterday.

As the winner Fabian Cancellara was given the customary kiss on the cheek by a blonde hostess, Sagan turned and 'goosed' her on the backside.

Social media immediately exploded, with thousands registering their unease at Sagan's act - and he was eventually forced to apologise.

Michael Hutchinson, 2012 Irish Time Trial National Champion, tweeted: “Shame that Peter Sagan has so much class on a bike and so very little off it.”

Irish Paracycling Team member Colin Lynch wrote: “Despite the symbolism of being kissed by scantily-clad women & then spraying champagne all over the place, groping them before is [off] limits.

“The podium move by Sagan was like school on Sunday. No class.”

Cycling writer and broadcaster Ned Boulting told The Independent: “To say it’s OK for winners to celebrate in these ridiculous clinches with these poorly paid, barely dressed and no doubt freezing cold women – I think it looks bad and pretty repressive.

“It’s seen as completely normal to have podium girls but it doesn’t need to be. If they ceased to exist [in the sport] overnight, no one would miss them.”

Jane Aubrey, editor of Australian cyclingnews.com, tweeted: “Anyone excusing Sagan's behaviour due to his age, needs to think again. In the workplace, it's called harassment.”

Adam Tranter, editor of website Cyclosport, retweeted the picture and wrote: “The moment you realise Sagan is actually just a bit of an idiot.”

Sagan's apology - via Twitter - was short and sullen. “Was not my intention to disrespect women today on the podium. Just a joke, sorry if someone was disturbed about it,” he wrote.

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

70 comments

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ricolek [40 posts] 3 years ago
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Those girls are there for this. Seriously, how come anybody thinks their job is OK but pinching their ass is not? I'm with Sagan on this - if the girl didn't mind, everybody else should just shut up.

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Sudor [186 posts] 3 years ago
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Glad Sagan got stuffed by the awesome Cancellara, pi**ed off that he tries to detract from Fabian's win in this tacky way and serves the organiser right for continuing this unwanted "podium girl" practise.

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leedgreen [33 posts] 3 years ago
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Would I have done this no. Am I upset about it no. Great race yes...........

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pj [147 posts] 3 years ago
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lots of self-righteous bullshit from journalists and the rabid twiterati, all of whom kept very quiet about the ridiculously sexist and tacky use of podium girls in the first place.

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CraigS [129 posts] 3 years ago
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ricolek wrote:

Those girls are there for this. Seriously, how come anybody thinks their job is OK but pinching their ass is not? I'm with Sagan on this - if the girl didn't mind, everybody else should just shut up.

Having podium girls is cringeworthy at the best of times, they're being paid to look good in skimpy outfits which is sexist and not the image cycling should be sending out about women in sport.

Being there to look good however, does not equate to being there for the riders to sexually assault. The fact there are people in the world like you who hold the disgusting opinion that because a woman is there in a skimpy outfit, sexual assault is fair game, proves podium girls can't be scrapped quick enough.

If he wants to do that in private and take his chances that the approach is welcomed, that's one thing. Carrying out sexual assault in front of a live global audience (not to mention the fact it's showing huge disrespect for the actual winner) is inexcusable. If I did that in my job I'd be fired on the spot - he should face consequences both within the sport and criminally for his actions.

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abudhabiChris [692 posts] 3 years ago
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Don't try to mitigate or excuse it by the fact that there are podium girls in the first place.

Podium girls may be an antiquated and slightly sexist thing.

But grabbing someone's ass is sexual harassment at best, physical assault at worst.

It's wrong. There is no mitigation, no excuse and Sagan is old enough to know better.

People lose their jobs for that sort of thing - they don't lose their jobs for hiring pretty girls. There is a pretty clear distinction.

Plenty of jobs are based on looks. It's not unusual. Do you think TV presenters, fashion models or upmarket shop assistants are all there solely because they could colour between the lines ?

But amazingly most of the population manage to get through their encounters with these people and not grope them.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 3 years ago
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ha ha oh this is funny, stupid podium girls ....

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Cooks [490 posts] 3 years ago
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Man, guy made a joke that wasn't funny. Now everyone has gone nuts. Usain Bolt would have got away with it. So would Cipo.

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andyp [1444 posts] 3 years ago
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'guy made a joke that wasn't funny.'

sexual assault is a joke??

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jimmyd [108 posts] 3 years ago
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Clearly he is doing it as a joke as he's looking forward and smiling. People should just have a giggle at it and move on.

...and those girls look properly dressed to me!

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MattT53 [146 posts] 3 years ago
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Storm. Teacup.

Quite clearly - given he was doing it in front of a live audience - a very poorly thought out joke. Right to be pulled up for it but to say he should face criminal action is ridiculous.

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mattsccm [330 posts] 3 years ago
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bollocks.
He was having a laugh.
If she complained then he could apologise.
As for the rest of the world. Its none of their sodding business.

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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I've suspected Sagan is a bit of a kno b, this just confirms it.

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bever [1 post] 3 years ago
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CraigS wrote:

Having podium girls is cringeworthy at the best of times, they're being paid to look good in skimpy outfits which is sexist and not the image cycling should be sending out about women in sport.

Being there to look good however, does not equate to being there for the riders to sexually assault. The fact there are people in the world like you who hold the disgusting opinion that because a woman is there in a skimpy outfit, sexual assault is fair game, proves podium girls can't be scrapped quick enough.

If he wants to do that in private and take his chances that the approach is welcomed, that's one thing. Carrying out sexual assault in front of a live global audience (not to mention the fact it's showing huge disrespect for the actual winner) is inexcusable. If I did that in my job I'd be fired on the spot - he should face consequences both within the sport and criminally for his actions.

THANK YOU! Sagan probably didn't imagine this would blow up so badly. But I am glad it did. Because if we just let this thing slide, we would've made it OK. And it is not OK. Let's make this the first step to getting "podium girls" off the friggin' podium. I, for one, can't see the point behind them. And while we're here, why was there little to no coverage of the women's race? /soap box

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pj [147 posts] 3 years ago
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Who knows, maybe Peter Sagan is some kind of subversive who knew deep down his actions were the only way to provoke a balanced debate about the role of podium girls in cyclo-sport and also to draw attention to the lack of coverage of the women's race. and provoke various house-bound middle-aged men into fulminating tweet tirades about sexual assault.

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stevebull-01 [63 posts] 3 years ago
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Has anyone bothered to ask the girl how she feels about all this I wonder?  39

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aslongasicycle [383 posts] 3 years ago
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Huge fan of Sagan the racing cyclist but he looks pathetic here. I don't agree with the concept of podium girls but saying its ok to pinch them is like saying a women in a mini skirt is asking for it.

About podium girls. And boys: http://www.vulpine.cc/Blog/road/podium-boys-oily-pozatto-and-the-inequal...

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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pj wrote:

Who knows, maybe Peter Sagan is some kind of subversive who knew deep down his actions were the only way to provoke a balanced debate about the role of podium girls in cyclo-sport and also to draw attention to the lack of coverage of the women's race. and provoke various house-bound middle-aged men into fulminating tweet tirades about sexual assault.

or he's just a knob ?

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Metjas [362 posts] 3 years ago
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why would anyone even want to try to defend or laugh away Sagan's action - it's plainly wrong. If in doubt, why don't you step out into your local high street and try to do the same, obviously while smiling to your mate's camera.

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Yemble [40 posts] 3 years ago
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What a pillock.

Podium girls and bum pinching in 2013? When women's cycling is struggling for recognition and respect, not to mention funding.. Gross.

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lycra vs lager [20 posts] 3 years ago
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'Social media immediately exploded' if only

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ConradCyclo [7 posts] 3 years ago
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Podium girls are great,
people are taking this too seriously - sexism? get real. Its sport, its fun and Sagan is a funny guy - certainly got a laugh from me. Lighten up Dudes.  1

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Municipal Waste [238 posts] 3 years ago
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He is a King  4 at least it brings some humour to the sport when a lot of riders and teams seem boring with no personality. Hence why Orica Green Edge are so great  4

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aslongasicycle [383 posts] 3 years ago
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Perhaps adding humour and fun to prize presentations would be better served by adding clowns and a stand-up set rather than ladies in tight outfits getting felt up?

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ConradCyclo [7 posts] 3 years ago
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no, aslongasicycle, i'll take the lycra clad podium girls anyday - they are all good sports, at least the ones I have met were

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hamishmct [13 posts] 3 years ago
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Yemble wrote:

What a pillock.

Podium girls and bum pinching in 2013? When women's cycling is struggling for recognition and respect, not to mention funding.. Gross.

Amen brother/sister.

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Dr. Ko [174 posts] 3 years ago
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Imagine Marianne Vos pitching the butt of the podium boys  1
Oh, wait there are no podium boys for her  2

Personally I think it was a bit naughty. Maybe that is why the models are always happy that I have both hands on the camera  3 at least no complains in the interview:
http://innercitymobility.blogspot.de/2013/03/preview-april-in-cities.html

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Rupert49 [40 posts] 3 years ago
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Lighten up! IMHO.

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The Gordini [26 posts] 3 years ago
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North Korea has declared war on the world

Meanwhile Sagan makes inconsequential schoolboy error after 120 mile plus ride in freezing conditions.

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kiwimagic64 [9 posts] 3 years ago
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You lot of do- gooders who feel so wronged by this bit of clowning around make me sick,get a life,lets do away with them all togeather then!! Cyclings been through enough bad press without you lot off TOSSERS all banging on ur righteous drums  14

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