“They might have to scan it for a motor,” read one tweet.
“That’s is (sic) some box of delights… clearly that’s a muscle massager for those tired muscles,” read another tweet.
And one commenter suggested the very practical nature of one of the prizes presented to the winner of the opening stage time trial.
“Is this the new bottom bracket tool with 1/2″ socket and 24 mm wrench socket for ISIS, Shimano 4-sided and Octalink bottom brackets???”
After winning the opening time trial of the 2022 Bloeizone Fryslân Tour, Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo Women) stood atop the top step of the podium, and among other prizes, was presented with a box containing a blindfold, Kama Sutra playing cards, and sex toys from EasyToys, one of the event sponsors.
Van Dijk later took to social media to note the improvement in the quality of prizes awarded to women, as well as solicit suggestions for how to use the prizes.
For her win at the 2015 Ronde van Drenthe, Jolien D’Hoore was presented with a vacuum cleaner.
This did not escape van Dijk, who noted “prizes in women’s cycling are improving.”
Adult-themed prizes were just part of the unusual day, at the race formerly known as the Healthy Ageing Tour.
Riders were also forced to navigate open roads, crowded with motor vehicles, pedestrians, and recreational cyclists.
“The blindfold is obviously so you don’t see all the other bikes and vehicles on the path you were expected to race on,” was a tweet commenting on the lack of safety at the race.
The professional riders were denied closed roads and were forced to navigate, head-on, passenger vans, pedestrians, and commuter cyclists while on course.
The rider’s union, the CPA, issued a tweet critical of the race and lack of safety afforded to the athletes, as well as the nature of the prizes which made the day “surreal.”
We are beyond words that this incidents happened in a UCI race today. We are hugely dissapointed @BloeizoneFrTour and we are at least releived that no one was hurt. The ITT took place in open traffic and the prizes handed out after the race made the day even more surreal. #BFTT22 pic.twitter.com/TL20aMAWdz
— CPA Women (@women_cpa) March 3, 2022
Women’s cycling has been struggling with issues surrounding concerns about abuse, professionalism, and equal pay.
A week before the 2021 Strade Bianche, it became known that the women’s race would only pay a fraction of what the men would take home. In less than a week, a crowdsourcing campaign raised €25,578 for the women’s winners.
CyclingTips reported that the 2022 Tour of Flanders is offering equal prize money for women’s and men’s events, with a payout of €50,000 for each.