Cycling's Biggest Problem? A Lack of Black Athletes, Of Course

June 30th, 2022 3:17 PM

Cycling is a sport that has long been rife with controversy. We need look no further than the Lance Armstrong case to figure out how rampant cheating and illegal activities are intertwined with said sport.

But Andscape is focusing on something far more scandalous in their eyes - the lack of black athletes in the world of cycling.

ESPN’s race baiting blog once again is complaining about the lack of melanin in a sport. They took the time to highlight that there will be no black riders in the Tour de France this year, which begins on Friday, and that there was only one in the event last year. 

“When you get perceived as white, you have an advantage over someone who’s not,” Nelson Vails, who won a silver medal in the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in cycling, said.

Do we have any way to prove that’s true? No, but that didn’t stop others from trying to frame cycling as a racist sport. 

Kevin Evans, the president of Major Motion in Los Angeles, said that he has received several distasteful comments from people who say blacks don’t belong in cycling. While that certainly isn't good, Evans has blown the impact of these potential situations far out of proportion. 

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“It’s almost like you have to just keep rolling and [not] say anything,” Evans said. “They’re in vehicles, we’re on a bike … who knows what’s gonna happen?” 

Great, so now we’re going to blame the lack of black people in cycling on the irrational fear that some are afraid of being harmed if they go out in public?

Apparently so.

Kevin Hylton, emeritus professor of equality and diversity in sport, leisure and education at Leeds Beckett University in Britain, thinks that blacks being out in public spaces - whether that be while running or cycling - will get gunned down just for being there.

“Being in open spaces for people of color can bring dangers in particular places,” Hylton said. “So if you happen to be out running down a particular street, you could be chased by … people who think you shouldn’t be there, and you might get shot just for running.”

All of these thoughts comprise a ridiculous line of reasoning to make it seem like cycling is out to prevent black people from getting involved in the sport. While the anecdotes Evans said are certainly discouraging to hear, it’s wrong to broadly and quickly assume this is why there are few black cyclists in a worldwide sport.