Cycling firm sorry for ads that urged women to 'follow the men's pace'

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Anna Brech
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Another day, another tiresomely sexist advert. When will brands learn not to patronise women in sport? 

A cycling manufacturer has been forced to issue a grovelling apology after running a series of ads that encouraged women to “follow easily the men’s pace” with its new electronic Nytro road bikes.

Biking brand Pinarello also featured a woman bemoaning the fact that it was “impossible” to go cycling with her boyfriend (presumably because he’s so very strong and fast), in the widely-derided social media campaign.

“Our recent Nytro advertisement failed to reflect the values of diversity and equality that are core to Pinarello,” read a statement from the company. “We sincerely apologize and have pulled the ad from all channels.”

The series of would-be motivational adverts for Pinarello’s new e-bike first appeared on the brand’s Instagram page, where they quickly drew a reaction that ranged from ridicule and anger to disbelief.

The hashtag #PinarellNO built up traction on Twitter, as a growing number of  people aired their feelings on the matter. Road racer Christine Majerus, from Luxembourg, was one of the many cycling professionals left bemused by the campaign. She said she would be happy to take on her male peers who ride Pinarello:

Former racing cyclist Kathryn Bertine, from Saint Kitts and Nevis, added her voice to a chorus of disapproval, though pointed out it was good to see cyclists come together to denounce the campaign:

True to form, the masses on Twitter also rose to the occasion with a well-pitched blend of sarcasm and wit:

Much as we enjoy these biting ripostes, there’s nothing funny about the campaign itself. Sexism is still rife in the sporting world and these tired old stereotypes do nothing to move the situation forward.

Pinarello took the right step by removing the ads and issuing an apology – but it’s still depressing to think such damaging messages could ever have seen the light of day in 2017.

This is, after all, a momentous time for women in British cycling. Only last year, Team GB smashed the women’s team pursuit record to bring home gold at the Rio Olympics.

The Pinarello adverts “makes the brand look out of touch with the industry”, cycling writer Sarah Connolly tells the BBC. “The amount of professional women’s cycling we can watch on TV and online has rocketed.”

Photos: iStock


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.