Cyclist Rising Star Peter Sagan Grabs Woman's Ass, but Who Really Cares?

Illustration for article titled Cyclist Rising Star Peter Sagan Grabs Woman's Ass, but Who Really Cares?

At today's Tour of Flanders cycling race in Belgium, second-place Peter Sagan acted like an entitled dumbass when he grabbed the bottom of a "podium girl" who was posing for the cameras with winner Fabian Cancellara. That lascivious smile on his face is so, so gross.

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Even worse, the event's official Twitter account tweeted that photo with this charming caption:

Yes, so naughty with his violating a woman's body — what a joker!

When cyclist and writer Michael Hutchinson tweeted "Shame that Peter Sagan has so much class on a bike and so very little off it," he was bombarded with plenty of people defending Sagan, including women:

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People who are offended are "uptight," and Sagan was "just having fun." And it goes on and on...

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Sagan later issued a non-apology:

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Here we go yet again with some very basic lessons:

Even if a woman's job is to wear a short dress and hand out shiny awards to men, it doesn't mean anyone has a right to anything else from her. Sagan crossed the line, a line that should be VERY clear, and his ass should be punished. In a world that wasn't the sexist worst, this shit would be handled with a team suspension and extensive training for Sagan on how to be a human being. Instead he'll probably be high-fived by a bunch of his pals for violating a woman, and th-th-that's all, folks.

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A cyclist friend of mine tweeted that while Sagan's actions are entirely ridiculous and he needs to be reprimanded, the whole culture of cycling is sexist. I think a bike is just a shitty car*, but it's obvious to me that women's only involvement in the men's side of the sport shouldn't be as scantily-clad podium girls. When the only women involved are simply for sexual objectification, how can the sport's culture not support bullshit like this? As long as these men think a woman is part of their prize for winning — or even for not winning, as is the case with loser Peter Sagan — nothing will change.

*JK, save the environment!

[via Courier Mail]

DISCUSSION

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When you have podium girls in the first place, the expectation is that they're there to be objectified (not saying it's right). The problem, I think, is that there are "podium girls" at all. In most other sports where there's more equality, I don't see beautiful women on the podium with the winner as if the race was actually some paleolithic fight for breeding rights. I just think that instead of pointing all of our anger toward Sagan, wouldn't it make more sense to question the event organizers? Why were these women hired in the first place? Who made that decision?