Cycling Weekly forced to apologise over 'token attractive woman' caption

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A popular cycling magazine was forced to apologise after publishing the caption “token attractive woman” alongside a picture of a female cyclist.

Cycling Weekly’s regular feature “We ride with…” this week featured the Hinckley Cycling Race Club from Leicestershire.

An eagle-eyed club member noticed the caption, writing on Twitter: “So my cycling club made it into @cyclingweekly and this happened. I hope @cyclingweekly apologise. Still a lot of equality work to do it.”

Magazine editor Simon Richardson apologised within hours, writing: “Unfortunately during the magazine’s production process a member of the subediting team decided to write an idiotic caption on a photo of one of the female members of the club.

“The caption is neither funny nor representative of the way we feel or approach our work.”

Apologising unreservedly, he added: “This appalling lack of judgement by an individual is just that, and not a reflection of the culture in the CW office.”

Cycling commentators welcomed the apology but some said it did not go far enough.

“How about an issue dedicated to women cyclists?” wrote cyclist Mary Bower on Twitter after branding the blunder “shocking”.

Kristin Brandt wrote: “Apologies are good. A public plan of action to help change the culture would be better.”

Cycling blogger Dave Noakes meanwhile wrote: “It’s not a lack of judgement by an individual, it is a representation of your magazine. It was written by one of your staff. Appalling.”

Sexism is a hot topic in cycling, with many saying that inequality and bad behaviour flourish in the sport’s culture. 

Lizzie Armitstead, the 2015 world road race champion, spoke out in March over having been given “no choice” but to dance with a male member of the British Cycling pro team at his birthday celebrations.

She also told the Guardian that her coach, British Cycling’s Brian Stephens, was not even there on the day she became world champion in Richmond, Virginia, because he had prioritised the men’s junior team.

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