Tour de France 2020

Tyler Farrar apologetic over mistaken ethnic slur at the Tour de France

The Garmin sprinter said his Flemish is not as good as he thought.

Click to see Tyler Farrar interview on his apology on CompetitorTV
Click to see Tyler Farrar interview on his apology on CompetitorTV

After answering a question in Flemish about Sunday’s crash, Garmin-Slipstream sprinter Tyler Farrar was sorry to learn he’d used a word that holds a controversial double meaning.

Coming into Sunday’s stage finish in Brussels, Farrar was sitting on Alessandro Petacchi’s wheel, in perfect position inside the final 50 meters, when AG2R rider Lloyd Mondory crashed, and the Frenchman’s bike attached itself to Farrar’s.

Farrar did not crash but was unable to contest the sprint after Mondory’s bike destroyed his drivetrain.

After he walked across the line, a disappointed Farrar, who lives in Ghent, Belgium, answered questions in Flemish, French and English about what had happened.

His mistake, he said, was using the Flemish term “kikker” to describe Mondory’s erratic riding. Kikker translates to “frog,” which is considered an ethnic slur to the French.

“I like to pride myself on speaking a few different languages, and trying to give interviews in the language it’s asked,” Farrar said. “I guess my Flemish isn’t quite as good as I would like it to be sometimes. I used an idiomatic expression, repeating a phrase some of my friends use. I meant to imply that Mondory was riding dangerously, in the sense of jumping around and being erratic. Unfortunately it can also mean frog, and the fact he’s French … I feel like an idiot about it. That’s not at all what I meant to say.”

Several Belgian journalists in the Tour de France pressroom told VeloNews Monday that while there are several derogatory terms directed towards the French in the Flemish lexicon, “frog” is not used.

“It’s not a term Flemish speakers would use to describe the French,” said Hugo Coorevits of the Belgian sports paper Nieuwsblad.

Farrar said he planned on explaining himself to Mondory during Monday’s stage from Brussels to Spa.

“I’ll ask him what he was thinking yesterday, and also apologize for the misunderstanding,” Farrar said. “That’s not at all cool to say something like that. I should be a little more careful before I try to drop my latest vocabulary on national TV.”