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Oleg Tinkov Thinks Women Shouldn’t Be Bike Racing and Feminism is ‘Abusing’

Sexist comments made by male pro cycling team's key sponsor ignite Twitter row

Pic: @olegtinkov Twitter

The owner of a men’s pro cycling team made a string of insulting comments about women’s cycling on Twitter last night.

It all began with a tweet where Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov suggested Chris Froome was riding ‘like a girl’.

Why, surely by this he meant that Froome was putting his heart and soul into riding like a beast, despite earning a poor wage, receiving a fraction of the media attention as his colleagues, and having fewer opportunities to race?

Ah – no – he meant Froome was riding badly. It later transpired this was down to a broken ankle as a result of a crash at the start of the Vuelta a España stage 11.

Bigla Pro Cycling’s Lotta Lepistö picked up on the tweet and responded:

Soon after, Cycling Tips Ella investigated her comment and wrote a fantastic response to Mr Tinkov.

The editors at Cycling Tips Ella responded beautifully, stating: “Mr. Tinkov, by choosing to accuse someone of “riding like a girl” as a means to belittle, you knowingly contribute to the notion that doing something, anything, “like a girl” is an insult. But “like a girl” is not an insult because nothing about being a girl or woman is humiliating, weak or shameful.”

One might hope that Tinkov might admit his mistake, as he did when apologising for ‘criticising’ Froome’s riding:

Not so. Whilst he was sorry for making a negative comment about the British Tour de France winner’s riding on one day of the three week stage race, he evidently doesn’t give two hoots about offending 50 per cent of the population by suggesting doing something in the manner of a female is to do it badly.

In response to the remarks made by Ella, Tinkov instead chose to belittle the sport that so many of us put our hearts and souls into trying to progress:

By this point it is clear that Tinkov doesn’t possess any real understanding of women’s cycling, or indeed women. When the post was shared again, he responded:

As we’ve made clear before, Feminism is about equality. The notion that it is anything other than equality – hating men, or taking away women’s femininity – suggests a hate of women sharing a level playing field, and it follows a basic and animalistic fear of patriarchy losing control.

Tinkov went on to suggest that no one is ‘interested’ in women’s cycling. This comment is interesting in itself considering the number of re-tweets and responses Ella – Cycling Tips’ women’s site – had gained.

He also stated that he preferred Beach Volley – hopefully because he enjoys the talents of the women there, but we expect it’s more likely he prefers his females in less lycra:

We – and much of the cycling community – are appalled by all of Tinkov’s comments. As to his responses that the resulting anger restricts “free speech”, might we suggest that the women’s cycling community has a right to free speech, too – and our combined voices are a lot louder than his solitary squeak.

Also Worth a Read:

Report Into Cycling Culture Refers to Financial and Sexual Exploitation of Women and Poor Support

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