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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tour de France podium girls 2014: 1 Marie-Alexie Bazerque

Not today, Vincenzo!

It's that time of the year, once more, when we look at the Tour de France podium girls (or, more correctly hostesses). Pre-eminent among them are, of course, the yellow jersey girls. Now usually they waft around in chic anonymity but this year one of them has hit the headlines after, according to the media, snubbing yellow jersey holder Vincenzo Nibali by not giving him a kiss on the podium in Sheffield.

Marie-Alexie demonstrates another of the key skills of a Tour de France hostess

As the lady later explained, and was actually patently obvious to anyone but an internet "journalist", she adjusted his collar, which he mistook for the cue for the kiss just as she turned to collect his flowers, leaving the Italian stranded with nowhere to go.

All is remedied at the start the next day

Nibali (whose quick thinking has also been demonstrated on the road this year) saved the situation somewhat by kissing his yellow jersey lion instead. The lady, Marie-Alexie Bazerque, achieved instant notoriety but made it up to Nibali at the start the next day by giving him his missing kisses. Full marks to her!  Who wouldn't want to miss a kiss from the gorgeous Mlle Bazerque?

Getting herself ready for action

The hostesses do rather more than help cyclists put on jerseys, hand over flowers and give a quick peck on the cheek to those on the podium (or not!).  They help manage the departure village as well as the finish which is why there are four for each jersey so they can have two at the start and two on the podium.

Marie-Alexie (left)

They do public relations and prepare coffee and food as well as setting up stands and ensuring the cyclists sign souvenir jerseys for VIPs.  Or perhaps these jobs are merely justification for their existence.  One thing they are not allowed to do, of course, is fraternise with the riders and if they do they are swiftly sent home (with a good spanking, no doubt).  Such was the fate of Melanie Simmoneau when American rider George Hincapie tried to send her a message having been smitten on the podium after a 2003 Tour de France stage.  Hincapie had the last laugh, however, and married her the following year.

Fifty percent of the 2009 contingent with Mlle Bazerque second from the front

The main requirement of the hostesses is, of course is to look utterly lovely and coolly elegant while standing nest to sweaty, smelly cyclists at the end of a stage.  There are 24 girls altogether: four each for the yellow, green, polka dot, and white jerseys plus another four each to cover the stage winner and the most aggressive rider award.

Marie-Alexie (second from right) with the other yellow jersey girls in 2009

Many are students but they are usually students with modelling contracts and quite a few have been beauty queens too; up to and including Miss France.  Most of the girls are French but occasionally a non-French girls gets into the multi-coloured mix.

An impressive embonpoint from Mlle Bazerque at the Miss France competition in 2006

Marie-Alexie is from the mountainous Pyrénées area of France and went to scool in Toulouse. She entered her first adult beauty competition in October 2005 and was elected Miss Comminges-Pyrénées,  This qualified her to take part in the Miss France 2006 competiton in Cannes where she was a semi-finalist finishing in the top thirteen (out oif 45 contestants).

No its not a take-away menu!  With the other Southern French contestants on the Island of Reunion prior to the Miss France competition.  Marie-Alexie est numéro-sept

A willowy 5'9" tall she will be 29 later this month.  This is her seventh Tour de France as a yellow jersey girl.

A fresh-faced Marie-Alexie (second from right) at her first Tour de France in 2007



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