The Tour de France has booted the tradition of two hostesses handing out prizes on the podium due to outrage over the ‘sexist’ look.
The tradition involved two young, attractive women employed to hand bouquets of flowers to the winners of the race's various jerseys.
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But the race director announced the Tour de France will be focusing on a gender-equal ceremony in 2020.
“You were used to see the champion flanked with two hostesses, with five local representatives on one side and five sponsor representatives on the other,” Christian Prudhomme told reporters.
“Now it’s going to be different with one local representative and one representative of the yellow jersey sponsor, with one host and one hostess for the first time.”
The old presentation also sees the women discreetly kiss the riders on either side of their face.
The race director did not confirm whether some part of this tradition will carry over, but due to the coronavirus pandemic this will most certainly be scrapped.
Podium tradition copped fierce backlash
The Tour de France copped fierce backlash last year when nearly 38,000 signed an online petition to ban the ‘sexist tradition’.
“Women are not prizes, rewards or sexual objects. They are athletes and their place is on the podium as sportspeople and not as rewards,” demonstrator Fatima Benomar said in a video posted on Wednesday on her Facebook page protesting in front of the office of Tour organisers, ASO.
One commented: "A bunch of flowers, spraying of champagne, a winner's jersey... And a woman scantily dressed who kisses the three best cyclists to crown their glory. Is it really an essential part of the awards ceremony?"
No more kisses on the cheek for stage winners. Even before social distancing it was feeling an inevitability. Listen back to my @cycling_podcast piece exploring the podium girls debate from a few Tours ago. https://t.co/Noqqi4iN8r— Orla Chennaoui (@SportsOrla) August 19, 2020
Tour de France is joining the 21st century and doing away with its ‘podium girls’. From this year, there’ll be ‘male and female’ hosts to congratulate stage winners. 🏆 #TDF2020🚴🏻 https://t.co/LVraFpIJTZ— Gareth Morgan (@Trydwr) August 19, 2020
Super glad to see this. The podium/ring/whatever women have been a bad look for a LONG time. I hope other sports (and cycling tours!) follow suit in short order.https://t.co/pL2BbyCbCp— Scott Hotaling (@MtnScience) August 20, 2020
"The Tour de France is ending its tradition of having two hostesses handing out prizes on the podium, opting for a gender-equal ceremony,"— Niamh Lewis (@lewis_niamh) August 19, 2020
Welcome to the 21st century, cycling. Equality for everyo... oh.
"The wind has changed and we have to break with this sexist tradition in cycling," another said.
The Tour de France starts in Nice on August 29.
F1 recently announced it was replacing grid women with grid kids before the start of the 2018 season in a move that was well received.
With Reuters and AFP