Women as Athletes, Not Accessories, at Least for a Day

Tour de France 2014: Women Push to Compete in Cycling’s Top Event

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Screenshot 2014-07-27 16.48.51

Female cyclists will race at the Tour de France on Sunday for the first time in 25 years, but anyone who thinks women haven’t been key participants in the sport’s top race obviously hasn’t been watching.

They appear prominently on every competition day of the Tour, and those women even make it to the awards podium. Come to think of it, their job is to be on the podium. They are Tour hostesses, crassly called podium girls, and their main tasks include looking pretty, helping riders don the leaders’ jerseys, kissing cheeks and smiling for photos.

Those hostesses probably gave the Amaury Sport Organization, which runs the race, and the International Cycling Union, the sport’s governing body, their fill of women at the Tour. The powers that be would probably have been happy with women as accessories to the athletes, not as athletes themselves.

Click here to read the article at The New York Times.