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Cycling: the E3 GP causes controversy after a drawing deemed offensive to LGBT people

The organizers of the E3 GP, the Belgian event of the World Tour, had to remove from their site on Tuesday a caricature which showed Wout Van Aert crossing the finish line on a bike without a saddle, accompanied by an allusion to the LGBT community , according to the local press.

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Cycling: the E3 GP causes controversy after a drawing deemed offensive to LGBT people

The organizers of the E3 GP, the Belgian event of the World Tour, had to remove from their site on Tuesday a caricature which showed Wout Van Aert crossing the finish line on a bike without a saddle, accompanied by an allusion to the LGBT community , according to the local press. This caricature referred to the victory of the 29-year-old Belgian rider last weekend at the cyclo-cross in Benidorm (Spain), during which he lost his saddle at the start of the last lap.

The controversy particularly focused on the accompanying comments: “The LGBTQ community is very enthusiastic,” it read, while in the background there were laughing spectators behind an LGBTQ flag, with an additional equivocal comment “ about (the) rainbow jersey of (Mathieu) van der Poel (world champion in the discipline) of course.”

This publication was notably criticized by hundreds of Internet users who flooded the E3 Facebook page with negative comments. “What a sad level!”, also tweeted Dutch journalist Thijs Zonneveld, a widely heard voice in Belgium. On social networks, several dozen other Internet users, however, invoked the “Charlie spirit” to denounce the “ambient wokism in Flanders”.

Faced with the controversy generated, the organizers of E3 however decided to delete the publication before apologizing. “We didn’t want to offend anyone,” they wrote.

In the past, the organization of this event which takes place around Harelbeke (West Flanders) had been accused several times of sexism, notably in 2015. That year, they published a photo of a woman lifting her dress and partially revealing his buttocks with the message: “Who will pinch them in Harelbeke?” This was a reference to the inelegant gesture of Peter Sagan, who pinched the buttocks of a hostess on the podium of the Tour of Flanders in 2013. E3, the dress rehearsal of the Tour of Flanders, is scheduled for March 22.

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