The latest poster for E3 BinckBank is another bizarre addition to the catalogue, as Patrick Lefevere and Greg Van Avermaet have appeared in fancy dress.
Belgian Classic E3, which falls on March 27 this year, has drawn criticism in previous years for “being out of touch” after using nude women to advertise the race.
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This latest instalment is less controversial but just as strange, as it features a collection of former winners of the one-day race dressed as characters from a popular Belgian sitcom, including Greg Van Avermaet dressed as a character Carmen Waterslaeghers-Vandormael.
The poster also includes Deceuninck – Quick-Step boss Lefevere, as well as retired Classics stars Peter Van Petegem, Johan Museeuw, Freddy Maertens and Eddy Planckaert.
Last year E3 BinckBank, formerly known as E3 Harelbeke, unveiled a poster for the 2019 event which featured two women wearing only body paint lying on top of each other to form a frog.
The picture, accompanied by the strap line ‘Who shall crown himself prince in Harelbeke?, attracted criticism for being “out of touch campaigning”. The 2019 edition of the event was won by Quick-Step’s Zdenek Štybar.
Before that, in 2015 the marketing images for the race feature a rider about to grab a woman’s exposed bum, with that image later being taken down.
The UCI responded to the controversial poster, 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 race 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.