Oct 11, 2023 at 2:26 p.m
Madis Mihkels (photo) and Gerben Thijssen were withdrawn from the Tour of Guangxi on Wednesday by their cycling team Intermarché-Circus-Wanty. The two riders are being punished because of a video in which Mihkels makes a racist gesture.
In the now deleted Instagram video, twenty-year-old Estonian Mihkels makes his eyes slitted with his fingers, while Belgian Thijssen, five years his senior, films it. Screenshots of the action are still circulating on social media.
Intermarché-Circus-Wanty is not pleased with the racist gesture and apologizes via X. “We would like to apologize to the Chinese people and cycling fans, the government of Guangxi, the Chinese Cycling Federation and all parties involved in the organization of the Guangxi Tour.”
“Our Intermarché-Circus-Wanty team consists of more than fifteen nationalities. We and our partners fight every day against racism and for equal rights for everyone. We are removing Mihkels and Thijssen from the race and will take disciplinary measures to put this incident behind us .”
Mihkels is in his second season for Intermarché-Circus-Wanty. The rider won stages in the Tour of Germany and the Tour of Estonia, among others. Thijssen won several small one-day races and also won a stage in the Tour of Poland.
The Tour of Guangxi starts on Thursday and lasts until next Tuesday. The Chinese stage race has been canceled for the past three years due to the corona pandemic. The World Tour round marks the end of the cycling year.
Beeld: Getty Images
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