“You used to see the champion surrounded by two hostesses, with five elected officials on one side and five partner representatives on the other,” said Prudhomme.
“Now it will be different, with only one chosen and one representative of the yellow jersey partner, as well as a hostess and a first-time host.
The presence of girls on the catwalk is increasingly monitored, with many calling for the practice to be replaced due to being outdated and sexist.
French radio channel Europe 1, where Prudhomme made his statement, reported that a 2019 petition saw 38,000 sign against the practice, claiming that women “are not objects or rewards.” The channel also pointed out that the Formula 1 race had abandoned its “grid girls” in 2018 for similar reasons.
Prudhomme made a point of stressing that not having girls on the podium is not new for ASO, organizer of the Tour, saying: “Yes, it’s new. [for the Tour] but we have already been doing it in other races for 20 years, such as Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
For now, there will be no podium hosts or hostesses due to Covid-19 regulations and the need for social distancing. But when they come back, they will definitely have a different feel.
At the same press conference, Prudhomme also shed light on how people will be able to attend this year’s Tour, starting Saturday August 29 in Nice.
Prudhomme confirmed that all spectators will be required to wear masks regardless of national or regional rules. ASO will also allow 1,750 spectators to attend the team presentation in Nice but could reduce the number if necessary.
Access to the media will also be considerably reduced. Usually the media and organizers caravan is about 5,000 people, but has been reduced to 3,000 with less access to on-site media.