Organisers of the E3 BinckBank Classic - formerly called the E3 Harelbeke - has released the poster for its 2019 event, featuring two women wearing only body paint, lying on top of each other to form a frog. The picture is accompanied by the strap line 'Who shall crown himself prince in Harelbeke?'
The new banner was accompanied by a video, which shows how the frog was formed from the merging of the women's bodies.
Created by C-Design, it has been reported that the creation took eight hours of work and will be hung in 148 places - almost three times as many as the 2018 design, which featured in 50 locations.
The poster has not been well received so far, with Twitter users responding angrily.
'City Girl Rides' called it "terrible and out of touch campaigning" whilst Peter Sokol (@Mohawksk) said "[This is an] exceptionally inappropriate race campaign", and asked the UCI to act.
The organisers of the early season race in Flanders, Belgium, have come up against controversy in the past for their race posters.
In 2015, the marketing material showed a rider about to grab a woman's exposed bottom. This poster was removed, and the UCI released a statement, saying: “The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) was extremely unhappy with the promotional poster of the 2015 E3 Harelbeke.”
“We have reminded the organiser of its responsibility and the UCI Regulations and they have agreed to take off the poster from all communication platforms.”
In 2016, the poster featured a priest, with the tag line 'cycling is holy, winning is sacred', whilst 2017 shocked us all with a baby covered in tattoos, one reading 'mommy's rebel'.
Last year's poster featured a cowboy - with the tag line 'who will be the sheriff of the Texas of Flanders?'- and was supported by female dancers in 'cowgirl' outfits.
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