The photo viralizes the networks and the circumstances in which it was taken. A group of cyclists from Deceuninck, also known as Quick Step, pose around a young woman who crouches a little and looks at the camera. One of them, the youngest one, puts his fingers on his back on his head; others smile, others look confused, and another, the most childish, advances the pelvis by tilting it, supports his genitals on the back of the girl and puts a hand to the nape of the neck, in a pose of enjoyment.
The youngest is Remco Evenepoel, a 19-year-old boy just met who is already known as the new Eddy Merckx, so good he is. The most childish, that of the pose, is Iljo Keisse, a veteran wheeler and pistard 35 years old, married and with two children. They are both Belgians. They are part of the best team in the world, a group of stage predators in the great races that call themselves the Wolfpack (pack of wolves). They are in Argentina, where they dispute the Vuelta a San Juan (they already win almost every day) and where the waitress in a café, excited, asks them to pose with her in a photo. When she sees the snapshot, the girl feels like crying and goes quickly to the police station to file a complaint because she has felt sexually harassed. "I took the photo and felt something behind," the young woman told the local newspaper Telesol "I thought it had been an accident, and then I saw that they started to laugh. But when I saw the photo I realized that it had not been an accident, but had been completely with intention ".
Half the world, indignant, expected a furious reaction towards his cyclist on the part of the leaders of the team, and demanded it in the networks; the other means, more expert, more knowledgeable of the human fabric of the whole, said, resigned, that 'you have believed it.'
The first reaction of the head of communication of the team was to ask him if he was not exaggerating the importance of the anecdote to the journalist who woke him up to question whether the group was going to issue a statement of reproach to his broker and apologize to the waitress. The second was to ask Keisse to apologize in public as well as in private with the young woman and to pay the fine of 60 euros imposed by the police to close the complaint.
Everyone seemed satisfied. Keisse played the stage on Tuesday, a time trial, as if nothing. His partner Julian Alaphilippe won again. The world turned quiet. The controversy seemed exhausted, but the International Cycling Union (UCI), which is part of the cyclist half of the world that wants to break away from the machista attitudes that have characterized cycling and cyclists so much, demanded that the organizers expel Keisse from the race. dirty the sport, its values and athletes.
It was a measure totally in line with the idea of modernity of a sport that quickly eliminates the habit of kissing misses as a prize to its champions and that is in the vanguard in its desire to ensure that women cyclists finish running in equality. However, the head of the Deceuninck, Patrick Lefévère, which in some way represents the dinosaurs of cycling that do not become extinct, did not see it that way. "What this girl was looking for was fame and money," said the veteran Belgian director raising arguments a thousand times repeated. "I find it outrageous. I should retire the team. "
Lefévère did not retire the team from a race in which Alaphilippe is the leader, but he took his little revenge by forbidding his most outstanding runners to climb to the podium of the winners after the stage on Wednesday. Alaphilippe, the leader, did not go up; nor Evenepoel, the best young man; he did not even raise his sprinter Álvaro Hodeg, third in the stage after Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan, who posed in duo. "They were very tired," the Deceuninck official justified, a decision that the rest of the teams, champions of modernization, have observed stupefied. "They do not find out, they do not find out", they comment among themselves. "Belgium is another universe." They are dinosaurs, and the people of their cycling proclaim it as a tradition to be proud of.
In a Belgian race, the 2013 Tour of Flanders, Sagan starred in a photo with an air familiar to Keisse, pretending to touch the ass of a miss on the podium; Another Belgian race, the GP E3, was publicized in 2011 with a sign in which a naked Playboy model lying down made her back simulate a road full of slopes where cyclists were cycling. Another Belgian cyclist, Jan Bakelants, said before going to a Tour de France that he would carry several condoms in his suitcase because they never know where the stewardesses on the podium would have been swarming before.