SIR Chris Hoy has apologised for his “harsh” remark that middle-aged men over eight stone should avoid wearing Lycra.
The six-time Olympic champion wrote in a style column that the figure-hugging material “generally looked awful” on anyone above that weight.
Hoy also wrote in his original column that he felt sorry for “Mamils” – Middle-aged men in Lycra – because so many people snigger at them.
Publicly apologising to his 728,000 Twitter followers, he said: “As a 14 plus stone MAMIL myself, this was a tongue-in-cheek article that wasn’t meant to offend.
“I’m really sorry. Reading it back it looks harsh and that wasn’t my intention.
He added: “Whatever your age/build, if you’re on a bike you have my respect.”
It is not clear what prompted Hoy to select reverse gear as there is no evidence online of outrage from Mamils, overweight or otherwise.
The Edinburgh-born cyclist wrote in his GQ column on Sunday: “Personally, I feel sorry for Mamils.
“When they walk into a café dressed head-to-toe in Lycra, you’ll always spot people sniggering at them.
“And yet you don’t know what that person looked like six months or even a year ago.
“It may be that they were once twice the size they are now until cycling transformed them and they feel great about how they look.
“Of course, that is the positive way of looking at it.
“The flipside is that Lycra isn’t the most elegant material you can wear and professional cycling gear generally looks awful on pretty much anyone heavier than eight stone and with more than five per cent body aerodynamic fat.”
The 41-year-old also wrote: “So we overthink things and end up assuming to ride a bike in any way seriously you need to be wearing a full Team Sky racing kit.
“Of course, that it makes most cyclists look as ridiculous as an overweight football fan wearing the shirt of his favourite club for a pub five-a-side game.
“Hence the popularity of the famous acronyms of Mamil (“middleaged men in Lycra”), and the less well known but much funnier Puffin (comedian Alexei Sayle’s “pathetic unfit fat f****** in nappies”).”
Hoy’s post was met with support from his followers who praised him for apologising.
Martin Davies wrote: “I didn’t think it offended. I am a 17 stone MAMIL and everything you said was fair. It is hard to find flattering cycle gear when are rotund.”
Tim Loft said: “Can’t see the problem, it’s honest and I’d say encouraging. Promoting bums on saddles over a perceived dress code has to be a positive.”
And Steven Limmer wrote: “Hi Chris, a man of your status (UK best Olympian), people take your words literally. Unfortunately people don’t have a sense of humour.”
Sir Hoy also gave a list of “do’s and don’ts” in his comment advising cyclists not to wear underwear under their cycling shorts or white shorts which could become see through in the rain.