The IDRD-Bogotá Humana-San Mateo-Solgar women's cycling team in their new kit. Angie Tatiana Rojas, the uniform's designer, is third from the right. (Photo: Associated Press)
The outcry was so strong against a Colombian women’s cycling team whose uniform made the women look partially naked – that team members felt the need to stage a press conference on Thursday to defend its controversial attire.
Angie Tatiana Rojas, a IDRD-Bogotá Humana-San Mateo-Solgar team member and the kit’s designer, said that photographs that spread far and wide on social media after the team unveiled the uniform at the Tour of Tuscany in Italy last weekend were misleading.
The patch of fabric covering the rider’s crotch and midriff is gold, not nude as the photo made it appear, Rojas said.
"It's sad that it takes something like this for cycling, and women's cycling in particular, to get this much press," she said.
The images caused a storm of social media ridicule, with some describing the uniforms as “unintentionally vagina-like” and the “worst ever.”
Even the president of the International Cycling Union, Brian Cookson, tweeted that the provocative uniforms are "unacceptable by any standard of decency."
The Union also contacted the team directly, the BBC reported, reminding them “of their responsibilities."
In an interview with the cycling website, Cycling Inquistion, Rojas explained the reason for the patch of gold (or nude). “It comes from our sponsors,” she said. “It’s the primary color used by Solgar, a company that makes vitamins, and is also similar to the one used by San Mateo University, another one of our sponsors.”
At the press conference, Rojas was defiant, saying "We wear our uniform with pride, and we are not considering changing it.”
She added, "We have to make the most of this moment, however it came to be. In the end, our reason for training, for racing and for every pedal stroke is to make our families proud, and to represent our city and Colombia with pride."
The team next races on Sunday at the 2014 UCI road racing world championships start on Sunda in Ponferrada, Spain.