We see them every day… smiling, kissing and clapping. Their job is to add a bit of beauty to the daily jersey ceremonies on the victory podium. But who are these girls, where to them come from, how did they get here? Like the various winners jerseys that they present, each one is unique…
Meet Emanuelle (left), and Laura (right). Their job is to present the “most combative” award, an honor that goes to the most aggressive rider of the day.
Laura is 23, and Emanuelle is 24. And you’ll love this… Emanuelle is studying to be a contortionist. No kidding.
The Brandt company found these girls, and two others, through a nationwide internet casting call. [Who says the French aren’t embracing the internet? – ed.] Hundreds applied… dozens were screened… and only four made the final cut.
Backstage, out of the public eye, Laura and Emanuelle adjust their shoes, fix their makeup, and take a few deep breaths before going out on stage.
Out on the podium, in front of hundreds of finish line fans and countless millions watching on TV, the girls are calm, poised… and beautiful.
There’s good news and bad news, guys. The good news…neither Laura nor Emanuelle are married. The bad news… Laura does have a current boyfriend. C’est dommage.
Emanuelle is happily single, but she does admit a certain fondness for Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen. Hmmm… a sprinter and a contortionist. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.
Boonen was presented his green jersey by Adeline (left) and Lucie (right). Both are hired by PMU, the jersey sponsor.
Aveline is 24, Lucie is 25, and when they’re not at working the podium both are dancers with the same company in Paris. Lucie is working her 4th Tour, while Aveline is a rookie.
I asked both of ‘em to tell me any of the bad parts of being a podium girl, but they were hard-pressed to come up with any negatives. They even admit that kissing a guy on the cheek, after he’s been sweatin’ on his bike for five hours, isn’t all that bad. Go figure.
There are three other jerseys that are presented every day…
The polka dot jersey goes to the best overall climber…
The white jersey is presented to the best young rider…
And the coveted yellow jersey (in case you’re just tuning in), the “maillot jaune” goes to the overall leader of the Tour. And the wave is exclusively for all the PEZ-fans.
One last thing…
When Lucie and Aveline presented Boonen with his jersey, he gave each of them a peck on the cheek.
..but if you work for PEZ, you get it on both cheeks.
This is as close as us mere mortals will ever get to the Tour de France podium. Savor the moment, oui?
We say “au revoir” today with a yellow jersey of a different kind. Dr. Kristin, the star of this year’s Tour PEZ-Crew, presents our now obligatory sign off…
Tomorrow, we show you more of the amazing scenery of this country, as the ’07 Tour de France rolls on through the wine country of France, and gets every-so-closer to the challenge of the Alps.
Vive le Tour.