The Tour de France put an end to the girls’ podiums


The Tour de France will remove its traditional pair of podium hostesses, Tour director Christian Prudhomme announced at a press conference on Wednesday. Instead, the Tour will have a male host on one side of the podium and a hostess on the other side.

“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 one chosen and one representative of the yellow jersey partner, as well as a hostess and a first-time host.

“Yes, it’s new but we’ve already been doing it in other races for 20 years, such as Liège-Bastogne-Liège,” said Prudhomme.

In 2019, a petition declaring that “women are neither objects nor rewards” called for an end to the sexist practice. He collected 38,000 signatures. Other sports have eliminated similar roles in podium ceremonies and elsewhere. In 2018, F1 ended the practice of using “grid girls”, long present at the start of races.

The question of kisses on the podium remains unanswered, and Prudhomme has not addressed the subject. The coronavirus will eliminate the practice for now, at least.

Tour organizer ASO announced a series of additional health-related requirements at the press conference.

Prudhomme noted that roadside spectators of the Tour will have to wear masks, regardless of the rules established in a particular region. France, at present, has no nationwide mask requirement.

The presentation of the team in Nice on August 27 will allow the participation of 1,750 people, a figure which may be revised downwards. A 15-person COVID “cell” will work throughout the race, working with local health authorities, and a mobile screening lab will be present throughout the Tour, with test results available within two hours.

The runners will undergo two tests before the race and one on each rest day, and will exist in “bubbles” which prohibit contact with strangers.

The total number of people attending the race will also decrease. Normally, the entire Tour entourage consists of around 5,000 people, from organizational staff to the media to sponsors. This year, it will be closer to 3,000. All TV commentators will be out of the race, most of them in Paris. Access to team buses will be prohibited to the media.

And, finally, the Tour is considering banning selfies. It would be good.


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