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UCI orders E3 Harelbeke to withdraw controversial advert

Not the first time the Belgian race has been accused of sexism

The UCI says it will initiate legal proceedings if the organisers of the E3 BinckBank Classic fail to withdraw an ad which shows two women in bodypaint, entwined to form a frog. “Who shall crown himself prince in Harelbeke?” reads the accompanying text.

This is not the first time that world cycling's governing body has clashed with the organisers of the race commonly known as E3 Harelbeke.

In 2015 the UCI said it was "extremely unhappy" with a sexist poster for the Belgian race. On that occasion, the materials in question were pulled.

This year’s campaign was launched on February 25 to an almost immediate backlash.



In a statement last night, the UCI said:

“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) regrets and strongly disapproves of the choice made by the organiser of the E3 BinckBank Classic, an event on the calendar of the UCI WorldTour (the highest level of competition), for its visual promotion of the event’s 2019 edition.

“The UCI has already intervened on several occasions in the past to remind the race’s organiser of its responsibilities with regards to the image of cycling conveyed by its communication campaigns.

“The UCI has been fighting for several years to promote equity between men and women in cycling through different initiatives such as a charter to promote men/women equality within the UCI’s administration, an equality charter for podium ceremonies, and also different documents demanding the respect of ethical principles for everyone working within UCI Road Teams.

“In view of the above, the UCI has ordered the organiser of the E3 BinckBank Classic to withdraw the visual promotion from all its communication channels in which it appears. In the case of non-compliance, the UCI will envisage initiating proceedings with its legal bodies.”

The race organisers are yet to comment.

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