A retired Belgian pro has accused an unnamed professional men’s team of revoking a verbal offer for work as a sports director on the basis of “inappropriate” photos posted during a paid modelling shoot.
Tara Gins, who rode for UCI teams before retiring at the end of 2018, has also spoken out about being sexually assaulted during her racing days, asking why those people are able to have jobs within the sport while she has been denied this particular role.
“I had a verbal agreement to join a team. I was really looking forward to that. It’s what I like to do. I want to learn and be in the support vehicle,” Gins said, speaking out via her Instagram story.
“But now apparently someone has made a problem of a photo in a book. I don’t mind now that the agreement was canceled. It is better this way. I don’t want to work with people who don’t see my capabilities and just walk with the herd. In cycling, too much thinking is still done inside the box. That’s a shame.”
After her two years as a professional, Gins was a sports director at S-Bikes AGU, as well as being the race director of the women’s edition of Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne.
“Those were photos I wouldn’t hurt anyone with,” Gins continued, the screenshot of the Instagram story posted by HLN. “Apparently these are now too inappropriate to work with riders. Apparently, a photo is more important than capabilities or experience.”
The 30-year-old goes on to speak out against being sexually assaulted when she was a rider, highlighting the hypocrisy that the perpetrators are able to hold down jobs within the sport.
“In all the years that I have raced, I have experienced so many negative things with teams, team leaders and soigneurs. I was literally assaulted,” she said. “A mechanic once crawled into the shower with me after training. I’ve been kissed by staff members without me wanting them to. I had to push those people away from me. I received inappropriate comments from a sports director who said I looked horny.
“I went against all those things and pushed everything away from me. I have tried to solve everything in my own way. That makes it even more frustrating that my chances are now being taken away by – sorry to say so – jerks who have double standards. I have stopped racing and want to continue doing my thing and get opportunities. Unfortunately, as a man, you can do a little more in this world.”