An ad for the E3 Harelbeke cycling race in the Flanders region of Belgium has been met with a certain amount of criticism today, and for good reason.

bottom pinch E3 harelbeke

Poking fun at the infamous moment that Slavak cyclist Peter Sagan pinched a podium girls bottom last year, the ad has received a host of negative comments on social media today.

In an effort to promote the E3 Harelbeke, race organisers decided to poke fun at the controversial incident with a provocative image with a tagline that directly translates to ‘Who squeezes them in Harelbeke?’

Sagan was forced to issue a public apology last year in response to the incident: "I am so sorry and I hope that Maja and anyone else I have offended knows how sorry I am. I promise to act more respectfully in the future."

Sagan pinches podium girl's bottom during 97th Tour of Flanders in 2013


Sagan, who was second in the race in question, could not keep his hands to himself when the podium girl leant into to kiss the winner Fabian Cancellara. With a smile, he theatrically touched her bottom.

However it seems race organisers were not a bit put off by the negativity surrounding Sagan’s actions last year, deciding it was the perfect way to seek promotion.

We would love to know your thoughts on the campaign so do share in the comments below and via our social media channels.