Among the fine traditions of the Tour de France is the entourage of podium girls, the hostesses who present stage awards and serve as ambassadors for various race sponsors.
The hostesses are hired by race organizers each year to not only kiss the checks of riders who advance to the podium after each stage, but also to represent the race to the media, visiting dignitaries and special guests.
The podium girls and hostesses work in the starting and finishing villages of every stage. They work for the race and for sponsors whose products support teams and are distributed to spectators.
It’s against rules for podium girls to fraternize with cyclists, but more than once a podium girl and rider have met and married.
Podium girls and hostesses work long hours and are required to wear different outfits, depending upon their responsibilities — polka dot attire (mountain climbing) to solid yellow (overall title contenders) to sponsors’ clothes.
The tradition of podium girls and hostesses sometimes gets criticized as sexist, since they’re are no “podium boys.”
In some respects, the cyclists in the race are the podium boys. They’re on display each day, also working for sponsors.
Together, it’s one more part of the spectacle and synergy of the Tour de France.