Apology from coach who described elite female rider with children as "hobby cyclocrosser"

Loes Sels will now be selected to represent Belgium at the Cyclocross World Championships

Loes Sels is a former Belgian national champion
(Image credit: Watson)

Belgian cyclocross coach Rudy de Bie has apologised for comments where he called a former national champion a "hobby cyclocrosser".

De Bie said earlier this week that he would rather have an empty slot in his team for the Cyclocross World Championships than pick Loes Sels, a self-funded rider with two children.

"I’m am ready to defend any choice,” he said. “But take Loes Sels, mother of two and hobby cyclocrosser? Should it be that the federation sponsors her hobby?"

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Sels, who was Belgian national champion in 2007 and 2009, and is currently ranked 20th in the world and 7th in Belgium, responded to De Bie's comments in Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab), saying that having to fund her own racing shows seriously she takes the sport.

"I train hard, I live for cross and perform," Sels said.

"Earlier this year I spent ten days to the United States for the World Cup. That cost me and my partner €4,000, which was a bad investment. With that money we could do something else, but I take my sport seriously and so had to be there."

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However De Bie has now apologised for his comments, awarding the fifth and final place in the squad to Sels.

"I want to apologize for my unfortunate statement last week," he said. "Especially toward Loes, but also to all the other women in the same situation who practice their sport to the best of their ability."

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.