So, there wasn’t an entry for Stage 12 originally because it was a sprint stage and there were virtually no sprinters left and Andre Greipel won it and went home so that’s it really.
The only thing of any real note was Rob Hatch getting fantastically cross on Eurosport. Every day the host broadcaster breaks off from showing the stage live to cut away to the finish line, where four women saunter towards the camera, pouting, each wearing a different race jersey. Naturally they are all slim and pretty with long swishy hair. At best it feels anachronistic and, frankly, it’s just a bit weird. It’s the kind of thing that was last seen as acceptable back in 1997 when Loaded and FHM Magazine were required reading for, well, pretty much everyone.
Anyway, twelve days of this nonsense was clearly too much for Hatch, who sighed audibly and apologised profusely to the viewers for what they were seeing. His frustration was obvious and understandable. He is paid to commentate on the unfolding race, not on women who are at the race at the behest of the organisers purely to give horny cycling fans watching Eurosport in their underpants something to put ‘in the bank’. So I’m applauding Hatch for highlighting the oddity and unleashing his inner feminist.
While I’m on the subject, podium girls. Cycling is not the only sport that has them – see also Motorsport but I’m not sure that makes it any better. If they have to exist (where did the tradition start? Were they originally an offering to the victor?) there needs to be some parity. Next time Lizzie Armitstead wins a race I’d like to see her kissed on the podium by two incredibly buff topless men wearing Calvin Kleins. At the final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire, the podium ‘girls’ were ladies of middling age, wearing nice trouser suits and sporting sensible hair. At least they tried to mix it up a bit.
Also, who’s to say that all of the male cyclists enjoy being kissed by women? (I’m sure they get so used to it over the years that it becomes as routine as stopping their Garmin they cross the finishing line, but still.) It’s a fair bet that in any given peloton there will be a proportion of riders that would rather be congratulated by a bloke who looks like Chris Hemsworth or Tom Hiddleston rather than a woman who looks like Jennifer Lawrence or Scarlett Johansson. It’s just basic statistics.
This is the trouble with sprint stages in grand tours. They give you space to get cross about stuff. On to Stage 13 and the mountains!