Buenos Aires Times

argentina Vuelta a San Juan tour

Belgian cyclist fined 3,000 pesos after miming sex act in photo with fan

Iljo Keisse apologises for behaviour after being kicked off tour in San Juan province and handed fine by courts.

Wednesday 30 January, 2019
This photograph landed cyclist Iljo Keisse in hot water.
This photograph landed cyclist Iljo Keisse in hot water. Foto:Gentileza: Telesol Diario via PERFIL.COM

Belgian cyclist Iljo Keisse has been kicked off a racing tour in San Juan province and handed a 3,000-peso fine, after miming a sex act in a photograph with a fan during training with team-mates.

The 36-year-old was reported for inappropriate behaviour in the northern province on Friday after humiliating a waitress who had asked for a photograph with him and his team-mates, dressed in their racing gear. 

The woman subsequently made a formal complaint to the police and, after receiving a fine from the courts, Keisse was subsequently kicked this year's edition of the annual men-only Vuelta a San Juan road-race by organisers.

"I want to apologise to everyone for the gesture I made last week, I did not want to offend anyone, and I'm very sorry, I know I made a mistake but I'm not a disrespectful person," Keisse said on Wednesday.

Keisse was training with him team-mates in San Juan province last Friday when a waitress at a restaurant asked for a photograph with the team of cyclists. As they posed for the photo, however, the Belgian cyclist raised an arm put behind his head and pushed his crotch toward the waitress' behind, simulating an act of penetrative sex from behind.

"After they placed an order, I asked them for a photo and I felt him touch me. I thought it was an accident, but later I realised that it had not been like that," she told local outlet Telesol Diario after the incident.

The woman, who subsequently made a complaint to the authorities, said she had felt "disrespected and worthless" as a result of the incident.

The cyclist was later sanctioned by a judge under the charge of "offence to public morals." In Argentina, an action of this type without consent can be considered sexual abuse. 

Judge Enrique Mattar told the press that "this person acknowledged having committed an act with a disrespectful attitude and was sanctioned."

Mattar admitted that "the penalty [of 3,000 pesos] applied was low but within the limits of the law."

The organisers of the Vuelta a San Juan reacted to the fine by kicking Keisse off his team.

A statement from the organisers said: “The organisation has taken the decision to take rider Iljo Keisse out of the race for behaviour that affects the reputation and honour of the organisation ... a licensee must have correct presentation at all times and behave appropriately in all circumstances, even outside races. You must abstain from acts of violence, threats, insults and other discourteous behaviour or that puts others in danger.”

- TIMES/AFP

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