In the wake of a turbulent week in cycling following from the social media behaviours of Chloe Dygert, non-apologies, badly worded press statements and brands sticking by their riders and offering education and support rather than standing by their morals.
Step forward Rochelle Gilmore, who is currently riding her bike on a lap of New South Wales, Australia. Rochelle is not one who is shy of promoting a product or Tweeting pictures of herself and what it is she is doing.
On this occasion, while tagging each of her sponsors of this bike ride; Pinarello, Bike Sportz Imports, Ford, Santini, Nike, Campagnolo, Vittoria Tyres and even New South Wales Police force. Rochelle Tweeted “I was scheduled to start my ride at 3am however at 1:30am my Brother’s @Ford car alarm went off while a few of our #indigenous friends were taking a golf club to the window! Now I’ll have to pedal to Lightning Ridge on the hottest day recorded in Australia’s November history!”
The stench of sarcasm on the use of the word “friend” is so strong that it’s offensive. This is in no doubt a racist and offensive Tweet which drags each of her sponsors in to the debate, whether they agree with what Gilmore has said or not.
Questions from Twitter users claim as to how Gilmore knew the people who attacked her car were indigenous, however, surely the questions should be why did Rochelle find it necessary to smear a whole race of people because a person vandalised her car.
What we have is a clear act of racism being displayed, Rochelle trying to make herself out as the victim after having her sponsors property vandalised and now she has to ride her bike on one of the hottest days in November.
The former Wiggle High 5 Pro cycling team owner could be described as a minor celebrity with a Twitter following enough to be counted as an influencer but not enough which is going to do a brand any last damage where any incident such as this were to arise. It’s very likely that the brands involved will not take action for the reasons stated. Rochelle does still commentate for the BBC when they show any road cycling. Will they still actively employ Rochelle despite her views?
Will any of her sponsors take note and actually do something worthy enough to be called ‘action’ or will they let this racist slur slide and figure out a way to educate Rochelle, similar to that as what we’ve seen in recent times of Dygert, Simmonds and Moscon.
When will education simply not be enough? The tone has been set with the previous examples and you can blame these previous examples as to why this tweet is still live and on Rochelle’s account for all to see. You can blame previous examples as to why education and not action is not enough. You can blame these previous examples as to why cycling is not doing enough to tackle the problem which is diversity.
Someone at some point needs to stand up and be counted for tackling the diversity issue in cycling with meaningful action which can be believed.