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The Tour de France will no longer use podium girls

Race organizer plans to end tradition of stage winners and jersey holders being greeted by models on stage

The Tour de France is set to start in Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile on July 7 and breaking with a longstanding tradition are not expected to employ hostesses during award ceremonies this year. The Times reports that the practice of podium girls which has been frequently criticized as outdated and sexist will no longer be used following the lead of Formula 1 which will ditch the practice in 2018 and other major bike races such as the Vuelta a España.

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Female hostesses have been used to present stage winners and race leaders with jerseys, awards and give the winning athletes celebratory kisses. The podium girls also posed with winners and jersey wearers for pictures throughout the event to promote the race. At the Giro d’Italia which still uses podium girls, hostesses dressed in the leader’s jerseys colours hold umbrellas over the heads of the classification leaders ahead of the start of some stages.

The tradition of celebrating athletes exploits with podium girls has drawn criticism with some races deciding to do away with the tradition such as the Tour Down Under which opted not to use them as of 2017.

Peter Sagan brought intense attention to podium in 2013 when he pinched the backside of one of the hostesses kissing winner Fabien Cancellara on the podium of the Tour of Flanders.  Sagan eventually apologized for his actions.

In January, Formula 1 announced that grind girls and podium girls would no longer be used at events in 2018. Darts has also done away the practice. The Times reports that a final decision has yet to be made but the race is not expected to use podium girls after extensive discussions.