A Dutch former professional cycle racer and current Nos commentator on the Tour de France has apologised for calling rider Kévin Reza a ‘little negro’ and saying he is surprised he can ride a bike.
Henk Lubberding generated shocked reactions on Wednesday for his comments, made when Europcar rider and Frenchman Reza appeared in the lead group.
When asked by the presenter what he meant, Lubberding said: ‘We have not seen them on a racing bike for years … and I like the fact that a coloured person is in a professional team and he does stand out.’
‘I should not have used the word ‘negertje’,’ Lubberding says in Friday’s Telegraaf. ‘I did not realise that but I did not want to hurt anyone. He is simply a very dark boy and I thought it was great that he was in the lead group.’
Nos sports chief Maarten Nooter has spoken to Lubberding about his word use but says he will not be removed from the commentary team.
Lubberding was a little clumsy in what he said but ‘meant to convey a positive message,’ an Nos spokesman said earlier.