ASO, parent company of the Tour de France, announced that the era of podium girls has come to an end.
Going forward, there will be just one hostess on one side of a stage-winner or jersey recipient, and a male host on the other side.
“You used to see the champion surrounded by two hostesses, with five elected officials on one side and five representatives of the sponsors on the other,” said race director Christian Prudhomme. “Now, it will be different, with only one elected official and one representative of the sponsors of the yellow jersey, as well as a hostess and a host for the first time.”
“Podium girls” have been a point of contention in recent years, with many condemning it as an anachronistic, sexist practice.
Prudhomme was quick to point out that a move away from all-female presenters has already been instituted at other ASO-owned races.
“It’s new [for the Tour] but we have already been doing it in other races for 20 years, like in Liège–Bastogne–Liège,” he said.
In 2019, a petition to end podium girls at the Tour was circulated and garnered more than 38,000 signatures.
While the practice of two female presenters has come to an end, questions remain about the traditional peck on the winners’ cheeks.
Given the strict COVID-19 mitigation protocols in effect, there is doubt whether this practice will be observed in 2020.
AFP contributed to this report.