Former cyclist Philippe Gilbert has caused a stir among his Flemish fans with a cartoon in which he stands on a Flemish lion – N-VA MP Theo Francken reacted dissatisfied. “Buy your bike and stop insulting your Flemish supporters,” it sounded sharply. Gilbert has since responded to the controversy.
Philippe Gilbert (40), now a cycling expert at Eurosport, shared a cartoon on July 21 – on the occasion of the national day – in which he can be seen wearing the Belgian tricolor; The Flemish flag was also in the picture, albeit under his shoes. He triggered many negative reactions with the photo, including N-VA member Theo Francken, who was not happy about “his lack of respect for the Flemish people”.
“This Walloon folk hero publishes a caricature for the national holiday in which he steps with his cycling shoes on the official Flemish flag, the flag of the people who keep their own. He himself has been living in tax-free Monaco for years,” it sounded sharp. “Mr Gilbert, get cycling and stop provoking and insulting your Flemish supporters by standing on our flag.”
“A little clumsy”
Meanwhile, in a reply to colleagues from Sudinfo, Gilbert admits that his message was “a bit clumsy” but “denies that he was trying to express a political opinion”. He apologizes to those “whom he has challenged with his choice of image” and emphasizes that he is “very far removed from the separatist and regional debates in our country”.
However, this isn’t the first time Gilbert has come under fire for political opinions. In 2013, he caused a stir when he attacked the N-VA. The world cycling champion called the party extremist and said N-VA voters didn’t know what they were voting for. The people who go to the races with a Flemish lion also got a blow from the pan. “They just want to get in the picture.”
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Source : HLN