Today the UCI announced the uncorking of champagne, part of the traditional podium celebration at bike races for over a century, will be outlawed in 2015. Citing a five-year study recently concluded by HIGS, the Helsinki Institute for Gender Study, and commissioned by the UCI, the practice is ‘overtly masculine’ and ‘inherently gender biased’ according to the study’s results.
After detailed investigation of over 1000 podium ceremonies worldwide, utilizing high-definition video and multiple on-site podium inspections the HIGS, led by researchers Dr. Ilsa Slaapkamer and Dr. Jakop Bootstrip, found the uncorking of carbonated champagne after vigorous shaking was clearly a metaphor for male climax and as such could only be construed as a purely male celebration and had no place in today’s society of gender equality. The study went on to state that while this type of behavior is appropriate in the privacy of one’s own team bus, it has no place in a public setting.
Brian Cooksen, UCI President, stated his endorsement of the decision, ‘As we look to the future of cycling we can say unequivocally that this will no longer be tolerated. It was bad enough when riders simply sprayed it harmlessly on the ground, but when I saw them spraying teammates, podium girls and even fans, I knew it had to be stopped.’
The HIGS study revealed this behavior is rampant in all of professional cycling, but most pervasive in Italian cycling. It also went on to state that sprinters are the most brazen of all champagne sprayers, with Italians again singled out as most likely to spray rampantly. According to Dr. Berggren, climbers, especially those from Northern latitudes, were most likely to spray the least in terms of volume and distance, although he went on to say, ‘While their actual explosion is less impressive, it is clearly not from any lack of effort. Physiological dissimilarities seem to be the root of the difference.’
The UCI has decided to wait until 2015 to enforce this rule as it acknowledges bad habits of this kind are very hard to stop. They recommend all victorious riders find another method of relieving tension after a race, like reading a good book, or just simply trying to think about something else.