The Tour de France podium is a familiar sight to many of us. We have been watching it on TV for years, some of us have even been lucky enough to see it in the flesh. One of the most notable elements of the podium is the bevy of yellow-clad hostesses on hand to congratulate the winner.
And this year with the inclusion of a women’s stage, known as La Course, we began to wonder how the podium would compare to that of the main event. Very similar it would seem. Tour de France organisers have confirmed that there will be ‘podium boys’ on hand to congratulate the ladies.
Light entertainment aside, La Course is shaping up to be an incredibly important event on the 2014 calendar. It was revealed at the launch on Tuesday that the event will be broadcast in 147 countries with 12 channels across 104 of those countries showing it live.
One of the main pioneers for the inclusion of a women’s event at the Tour de France has been cycling legend, Marianne Vos who said the announcement of La Course is a historic day for women’s cycling. Vos who has been named patron of the events and arguably the race favourite will race against a field of 120 women, covering a total distance of 90km finishing on the Champs Elysées.
Vos has described the event as the showcase that women’s cycling needed. It did not come into fruition easily though. La Course is the result of diehard campaigning by big names such as Vos in conjunction with Le Tour Entier who gathered more than 80,000 signatures in a petition.
With the race now a big focus on many of the world’s top riders calendars, and the commitment of race organisers to give it the respect it deserves with TV coverage, prize money of €22,000 (the same as for a men’s stage) and of course the inclusion of the podium boys we are sure it’ll be a great event and especially important in the quest to raise the profile of women’s cycling.
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