Kévin Reza: Racism in cycling should be ‘punished like a doper’

French rider said he feels more open about discussing racial issues inside the peloton since last summer's protests.

Kévin Reza, speaking to Sky Sports News, said racists inside professional cycling should be punished with the same severity as dope cheats.

Dopers can see bans starting at two years, and Reza, who was the only Black cyclist in last year’s Tour de France, suggested that anyone doing racist acts should be treated the same way.

“As a minimum, you would expect to see a racist get punished like a doper,” Reza told Sky Sports News. “I think this is one of the best solutions. It would show they’re taking a strong stance in terms of supporting action against the various forms of discrimination within sport … I think that racism and discrimination, in general, must be on a par with these kinds of acts. I do not see any other action that can be taken against racist acts.”

Also read:

In a wide-ranging interview, the B&B Hotels-Vital Concept rider said last year’s wave of global protests and wider discussion on racial issues helped him speak more freely about his own experiences inside the peloton.

“Since last year, it’s been a kind of release and opening that was given to me,” he told Sky Sports News. “I grabbed it with both hands. It’s just something that makes me want to be able to share and interact with people, those who may or may not be racist, but at least we can have a proper exchange and I can share my ideas and thoughts.

“And that’s something that I enjoy since it’s a subject that remains taboo and that we aren’t used to talking about openly. I’ve been able to do that since the 2020 Tour de France,” he said. “It’s not like I couldn’t do that for years, but I was given the opportunity to do it on the biggest race in the world. This is something that makes me happy and that also allows us to spark debate.”

Reza is currently racing at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey.

Kevin Reza (Team B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) during the 66th Vuelta a Andalucia – Ruta del Sol 2020 Stage 5 time trial. Photo: David Ramos / Getty Images