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Opponents to the new law plan to use race's international exposure to get their point across - but they'd better Beware of the Badger...

Opponents of France’s controversial law allowing gay couples to marry aim to use the international profile of the Tour de France to show their opposition to it when the three-week race starts on Corsica a fortnight tomorrow, planning on being present at every stage to get their point across.

Late last month, Vincent Aubin and Bruno Boileau became the country’s first gay married couple at a ceremony in Montpellier – coincidentally, the finish town of Stage 5 of this year’s Tour.

The previous weekend, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators had staged a protest in Paris against the law, which also allows same-sex couples to adopt children.

One of the opponents of the reform, UMP politician Samuel Lafont, is behind the ‘Tour de France Pour Tous’ – ‘the Tour de France For Everyone’ – which was launched earlier this week as a means of highlighting opposition to same-sex marriage during the Tour, reports France24.

‘Tous’ in this context doesn’t include those who wish to marry someone of the same gender, or those who support someone’s right to do so – instead, it’s inspired by the popular name given to the law, ‘Mariage Pour Tous.’

Writing on the event’s Facebook page, Lafont said: “From all regions of France, come out and participate in the ‘Tour de France Pour Tous.

“From June 29 to July 21, we will have extraordinary international visibility. We must use this opportunity to demonstrate our opposition to this law and to the modern gender theories that lie behind it.”

“The idea is not to disrupt the race, but to be visible on French and international news media, at every stage of the race,” added Lafont, although that could be wishful thinking – demonstrations against same-sex marriage have attracted extreme elements, resulting in violent clashes with police, and it’s also possible there will be counter protests.

France24 says that Tour organisers ASO declined to make a comment on the issue when contacted.

Last Sunday, the men’s singles final between Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer at the French Open was interrupted by a protestor against same-sex marriage who managed to get onto the court and was unceremoniously bundled off by a security guard.

Anyone planning a similar stunt anywhere near the podium at the end of a stage during the Tour may wish to consider that Bernard Hinault, who acts as a kind of master of ceremonies at the presentations, jealously guards his territory .

Last year, as Bradley Wiggins stood on the podium in front of the Arc de Triomphe, the Frenchman intervened to physically throw off a fan who had somehow managed to make his way onto it.

Hinault, nicknamed the Badger, has also been known to punch the odd protestor who has intruded on his domain in the past.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

20 comments

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Bez [589 posts] 2 years ago
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My suggestion for this year's Tour, then: replace the podium girls with podium boys.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 2 years ago
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Just wondering if there are any WorldTour cyclists who are "out". There are very few male sportsmen who are openly gay. Could cycling lead the way with this, as they have with anti-doping? I'd love to see someone ask Pat McQuaid about this.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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If any of these whoppers get in my way at the tour this year I'm going to give them a proper rigid bumming.

That'll learn 'em.

@ Cat1Commuter - Grahame Obree is the only fella I can think.

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hoski [81 posts] 2 years ago
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Bez wrote:

My suggestion for this year's Tour, then: replace the podium girls with podium boys.

+1

The bigots can just **** off. There are countless things in the world to protest, and they choose this. I have to put up with overhearing blatantly homophobic comments all day at work*, the last thing I want to do is be reminded that some people are so narrow-minded and reactionary to actively protest gay marriage.

*Someone actually said, "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Seriously.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 2 years ago
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Peculiar, given that were it not for the death-camp physique of most of the peloton, pro cycling would pretty much be the most homoerotic sport around (after Aussie Rules).

All these groups of men in skintight dayglo clothes, talking about 'stiffness'...

+2 for the podium boys as well. Time to subvert that daft, sexist ritual.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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Take your personal issues elsewhere protesters, it's nothing to do with cycling.

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Cycle_Jim [264 posts] 2 years ago
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+1

"All these groups of men in skintight dayglo clothes, talking about 'stiffness'..."

'the ride is stiff, yet comfortable'

Shame people have to hi-jack it for there own narrow-mindedness

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merckxman [40 posts] 2 years ago
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I am looking forward to this years tdf and I usually laugh at the bizare costumes that spectators wear on the climbs specially when they run along the side of the riders, I could see these Gay lot taking the headlines away from what is the toughest cycle race around to pictures in the news of the village people waving banners, I think there is a time and a place for their issues and the tour is not the place...

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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merckxman wrote:

I could see these Gay lot taking the headlines away from what is the toughest cycle race around to pictures in the news of the village people waving banners

If you'd bothered to read the article properly you'll see that it is anti-gay campaigners that are making plans to protest, they're probably as staunchly and mind numblingly Hetero as you.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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cat1commuter wrote:

Just wondering if there are any WorldTour cyclists who are "out". There are very few male sportsmen who are openly gay. Could cycling lead the way with this, as they have with anti-doping? I'd love to see someone ask Pat McQuaid about this.

Was thinking the same thing.
The law of averages suggest so but it would seen its more of a taboo than doping!
Pro cyclists can be a bit thick sometimes but i doubt think it has the same locker room mentality as other sports and i would *like* to think a gay pro would not get the abuse he would perhaps get in stadium sports both from his colleagues and the fans.
If this protest goes ahead and a pro is thinking of coming out - now may be a good time i would have thought.
Does anyone, apart from a tiny minority of vocal bigots, really give a shit nowadays?

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Bez [589 posts] 2 years ago
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merckxman wrote:

I could see these Gay lot taking the headlines away from what is the toughest cycle race around to pictures in the news of the village people waving banners, I think there is a time and a place for their issues and the tour is not the place...

Just like there's a time and place for getting completely and utterly the wrong end of the stick and making borderline homophobic generalisations about OH NO WAIT THERE ISN'T A TIME AND PLACE FOR THAT.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 2 years ago
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farrell wrote:

@ Cat1Commuter - Grahame Obree is the only fella I can think.

Sure, but he's not part of the UCI WorldTour peloton, is he? There are openly gay footballers too, but aren't any in the UK's top four divisions.

For Graham Obree I wonder what took more guts: going into a Glasgow pub to use the telephone while dressed in lycra, or coming out!

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Old Man Miller [11 posts] 2 years ago
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My suggestion for this year's Tour, then: replace the podium girls with podium boys.[/quote

Perhaps Sagan would keep his hands to himself!

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Ottadini [17 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm off to Paris with my family to watch the light show final stage this year. Unless these homophobic bigots can be controlled I'll take my hard earned holiday cash elsewhere..

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Argos74 [389 posts] 2 years ago
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Rainbow jersey, worn by the reigning world champion in his or her chosen discipline.

Rainbow flag, long established flag and symbol of the LGBT community.

Coincidence? Anyway, another +1 for podium guys. And as for the protestors, I couldn't care less if the riders I'm cheering for is gay, straight or whatever.

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merckxman [40 posts] 2 years ago
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Appoligise....Got my facts wrong......

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RPK [80 posts] 2 years ago
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Bez wrote:

My suggestion for this year's Tour, then: replace the podium girls with podium boys.

Or at least give the women's races podium dudes.

Either way, the whole thing is kinda lecherous.

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RPK [80 posts] 2 years ago
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merckxman wrote:

these Gay lot taking the headlines away from what is the toughest cycle race around

Alf Garnett, is that you?

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Dropped [85 posts] 2 years ago
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merckxman wrote:

I am looking forward to this years tdf and I usually laugh at the bizare costumes that spectators wear on the climbs specially when they run along the side of the riders, I could see these Gay lot taking the headlines away from what is the toughest cycle race around to pictures in the news of the village people waving banners, I think there is a time and a place for their issues and the tour is not the place...

It's true what they say about the right wing being thick. You can't even read. Oh and lets face it - lithe young men romping around in lycra looks fairly homo-erotic to the casual observer!

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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If you think cycling seems a bit homoerotic - have you ever seen a triathlete?  39

but seriously i hate the way people with sh*t causes try and hijack other events to get noticed. There is a reason that no one has noticed these bigots before, its because they are irrelevant and not worth noticing. Hopefully they won't get any press coverage and will then just f**k off back to their caves