Lotto Cycling Cup, the organizers of the Flanders Diamond Tour, both apologized and deflected blame after drawing criticism for using using bikini-clad women at the race and on the podium.

Four women in bikinis were used to “parade” through the VIP area and then appeared at the podium after Jolien d’Hoore’s victory. A photo of the women, looking less-than-pleased, was tweeted by cycling journalist Marijn de Vries, sparking outrage.

Cycling was only too willing to “turn a blind eye” to a ” display that is either degrading, humiliating and demeaning or something out of a Borat-style satire,” Suze Clemitson writes at The Guardian. The organization apologized on Twitter, while assigning blame elsewhere.

Interest in cycling has waned dramatically in the general audience since the fall of Lance Armstrong and it isn’t cynical to think that scantily-clad women bring attention to the race. Clemitson writes:

As with any organization, there is a buck, and in this case it stops with Lotto Cycling Cup. If they were aware, as seems likely, that women wearing minuscule pieces of clothing that just about covered their boobs and bum were parading around during the day, then they had ample opportunity to impose a dress code. With 118 women lining up to take the start, surely some spare kit would not have been hard to find?

The models, according to the BBC, were recruited by Hostessen Service No Limit, which also happens to offer striptease acts. The manager, who said his name was Gerrid, said he didn’t “understand what the problem is” and laughed when told that some considered the display sexist. “Sometimes during the race,” he said, “women race with their shirts open.”

All right then, how about this as an alternate solution?