A waitress at a restaurant in Argentina has reported Deceuninck-Quick Step cyclist Iljo Keisse to the police for sexual harassment after he was alleged to have touched her inappropriately as she posed for a photo with him and his team mates, who are currently racing in the Vuelta a San Juan in the Latin American country.
A photo published in local newspaper Tiempo de San Juan shows the 36-year-old Keisse standing behind the waitress, with one hand behind his head and allegedly rubbing against her with his genitals.
#ciclismo Abuso en @vueltasanjuanok? Empleada de un bar sanjuanino inició denuncia policial contra Iljo Keisse (@deceuninck_qst) por "apoyarla" en una foto grupal sacada el viernes en la capital provincial.
— Ernesto Rodríguez (@EPHECTO) January 28, 2019
“I speak some English,” the waitress told the newspaper , “they ordered from me.
“I didn’t know the Vuelta a San Juan was on and they explained what they were doing, they were here to race.
“I asked for a photo and at the time I felt someone leaning against me. I thought it was an accident, but later I realised that it wasn’t.”
The waitress, who wished to remain anonymous, continued: “I am very angry. They disrespected me; I was working.
“I asked for a photo and they disrespected me. I’ve already spoken with my lawyers to see what we will do.
“My partner saw the incident and he is a witness.”
She called for more respect towards women, saying: “They cannot come to another country and treat women as objects, as something that is insignificant and worthless.
“This is Argentina and you can’t come here and do what you like. I hope at least they sanction him or call him out for doing what he did.”
The Belgian cyclist has reportedly apologised for his behaviour and while the police are taking no action, the newspaper reports that sources close to the directors of the race may consider imposing their own sanction on Keisse.
One of the stars of the six-day circuit on the track, where he has won more than 20 races in pairings featuring riders including Mark Cavendish and Elia Viviani, Keisse’s victories on the road include a stage of the 2015 Giro d’Italia.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.