Philippa York: Bikinigate and the worrying attitudes toward female riders

Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport women's team
The Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport women's team (Image credit: Getty Images)

The Marion Sicot doping case is a sorry enough story, and one of a young athlete making the wrong choice. It’s something that we’ve seen before in the sport, many times, and it’s more than likely an episode that will repeat itself again and again.

However, the statement put out by her former team, Doltcini-Van Eyck, highlights not only the pressures to perform but other much more worrying attitudes towards female riders altogether.

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Philippa York

Philippa York is a long-standing Cyclingnews contributor, providing expert racing analysis. As one of the early British racers to take the plunge and relocate to France with the famed ACBB club in the 1980's, she was the inspiration for a generation of racing cyclists – and cycling fans – from the UK.


The Glaswegian gained a contract with Peugeot in 1980, making her Tour de France debut in 1983 and taking a solo win in Bagnères-de-Luchon in the Pyrenees, the mountain range which would prove a happy hunting ground throughout her Tour career. 


The following year's race would prove to be one of her finest seasons, becoming the first rider from the UK to win the polka dot jersey at the Tour, whilst also becoming Britain's highest-ever placed GC finisher with 4th spot. 


She finished runner-up at the Vuelta a España in 1985 and 1986, to Pedro Delgado and Álvaro Pino respectively, and at the Giro d'Italia in 1987. Stage race victories include the Volta a Catalunya (1985), Tour of Britain (1989) and Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (1990). York retired from professional cycling as reigning British champion following the collapse of Le Groupement in 1995.