Bakelants apologises for 'inappropriate' podium girl comments

Belgian had angered Tour de France organisers with sexual insinuations

Jan Bakelants has apologised for his derogatory remarks towards podium hostesses, describing his words as "inappropriate". 

The Belgian, asked in a pre-Tour de France interview with Het Laatste Nieuws whether it was difficult to go without sex for three weeks, replied: "There are also the podium hostesses."

The AG2R La Mondiale rider had already made a joke about only contacting his parents during the race when he ran out of pornographic films to watch, and he made things worse when asked what items he would pack in his suitcase for his free time. "Definitely a packet of condoms," he replied. "You never know where those podium hostesses are hanging out."

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme was quick to demand an apology, and Bakelants' team first offered one on his behalf on Wednesday, before Bakelants himself came out on Wednesday morning to apologise on social media. 

Like his team, he acknowledged the comments were crass but pointed out that he was trying to be funny in a light-hearted interview. 

"My sincerest apologies to all those offended by my words in a so called humouristic interview," he wrote. "My words have been inappropriate." 

Bakelants, 31, will hope the matter is now closed in the eyes of ASO, and will start his fifth Tour de France on Saturday, having previously won a stage and led the race in 2013. 

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