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British cycling magazine apologizes for 'token attractive woman' caption

Posted at 6:12 AM, Sep 01, 2017

A British cycling magazine has issued an effusive apology for a sexist caption in its latest issue.

Cycling Weekly, which can trace its roots back to 1891, apologized for a caption that read "token attractive woman" above a smiling female member of the Hinckley Cycling Race Club.

The caption was noticed by fellow Hinckley Cycling member Carlos Fandango who tweeted it in a photo along with a request for an apology.

"Still a lot of equality work to do," he wrote in a post which has been retweeted nearly 800 times.

Cycling Weekly issued an unreserved apology, citing a sub-editor who "decided to write an idiotic caption" as the culprit.

"The caption is neither funny nor representative of the way we feel or approach our work. Sadly in the rush to get the magazine finished it was missed by other members of the team and eventually sent to print," read the apology, which was posted on Twitter.

"This appalling lack of judgment by an individual is just that, and not a reflection of the culture in the CW office."

Fandango's tweet and Cycling Weekly's apology prompted hundreds of angry responses, many that blamed a culture of sexism within the sport.

"As a female cyclist, I find this disgraceful. It's hard enough to get ladies to join us!" wrote Twitter user Lesley Watson.

"More concerned by fact that week after week you produce magazine that gives impression male cyclists are the norm, female are an aberration," wrote Twitter user Alison in response to the apology.


Over the last year, British Cycling -- the sport's governing body in the UK -- has had to deal with damaging claims of sexism and discrimination.

In April 2016, British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton resigned from his role, amid claims of sexism and discrimination towards cyclists. In his resignation statement, Sutton said he rejected "the specific claims" that were made against him.

In January, Nicole Cooke, who won a gold medal for Britain in the 2008 Olympic road race event, told a House of Commons Culture Media and Sport select committee: "I would summarize cycling as a sport run by men, for men, with a structure not responsible to anyone other than itself."

But it's not just the UK where sexist attitudes in cycling would appear to be prevalent.

An elite bike race in Belgium in 2015 was promoted by a poster with the strapline "Who squeezes them in Harelbeke?" below a picture of a gloved cyclist's hand poised to pinch a woman's bottom.