Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

news

Podium girl Maja Leye says she fought to keep calm as Peter Sagan pinched her behind

25-year-old says she was "frozen to the spot" and only the thought of millions watching helped her keep her composure...

The podium girl groped by Peter Sagan following the Tour of Flanders on Sunday has described how she was “frozen to the spot” as the Slovak pinched her behind and how she fought to maintain her composure in front of a TV audience numbering in the millions.

Maja Leye, aged 25, who was planting the traditional kiss on the cheek of winner Fabian Cancellara when Sagan touched her, told Het Nieuwsblad: “Suddenly, I felt this hand. I hadn’t seen it coming because I had my back to him. I understood quickly what had happened. I was frozen to the spot.”

Leye admitted that she fleetingly considered slapping the Cannondale rider, but believes that had she reacted, the situation would have gone from bad to worse.

“I really thought about it,” she revealed, adding: “I had to stay professional. If I had reacted, the incident would have escalated. There were millions of TV viewers in front of their screens.”

She told the newspaper that her boyfriend was none too pleased when he heard what had happened. “He didn’t appreciate it,” she said. “After the race, he received loads of text messages. Luckily, he stayed calm.”

While certainly not condoning Sagan’s behaviour, Leye, whose day job is working in the general secretariat of the Flanders Classics organisation, added that she had accepted his apology for the incident, with the newspaper saying that she will protect her rear in future.

Sagan has said that he will keep his hands to himself in future, and the opportunity to prove good to his word may present itself sooner rather than later – Leye, who only this year started taking to the podium, will be on duty tomorrow at the Scheldeprijs, and again next Wednesday in the Brabantse Pijl, which the Slovak is racing.

The incident has prompted a debate in Belgium and elsewhere about the role of podium girls, with some going so far as to say that behaviour of the type Sagan displayed was understood by the women involved to be simply a case of high jinks that are part and parcel of their role; Leye's comments suggest very strongly that isn't the case.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Latest Comments

  • JustTryingToGetFromAtoB 2 sec ago

    If it makes you feel better, I rarely bother sorting mine now unless it's urgent, I wait for issues to accumulate and then get the whole thing...

  • hirsute 1 min 36 sec ago

    Shouldn't be overtaking anyhow - HC 153...

  • hirsute 24 min 44 sec ago

    I was not suggesting that they should get radar merely pointing out how radar can be useful. There was a recent review of a radar unit on here...

  • BalladOfStruth 53 min 18 sec ago

    I think it might actually be the least popular behaviour in all of web design.

  • lesterama 55 min 16 sec ago

    Here's some hope for us chunky blokes, even if most of won't consider spending £3.5k on wheels.

  • Rezis 56 min 49 sec ago

    If running it poorly affected their salaries and bonuses (and other accountabilities) maybe they would run it properly......

  • simonmb 1 hour 8 min ago

    Passing a cyclist in the opposite direction warrants at least a nod or a gentle lift of the hand from the bars. But what about overtaking a fellow...

  • brooksby 2 hours 3 min ago

    If a bicycle is the only vehicle stopped at a zebra crossing, you should just go around them.

  • Secret_squirrel 2 hours 34 min ago

    Im considering something like this to replace my current storage bottle on my downtube.  It does the job of keeping the tools safe and dry but at...

  • brooksby 12 hours 16 min ago

    The wheelbenders were on the verge again, so since there were no other bikes in sight i locked mine along the back of them....