The winner of a new women's race at this year's Tour de France can look forward to receiving kisses from so-called podium boys, or hosts as the French call them.
Every cycling fan is familiar with the sight of the hostesses – dressed in all-yellow – who greet the Tour de France winner on the podium but now the men will return the favour as a woman's race returns to the Tour.
Champs Elysee will host the women's race on the 27th July, the same day that the men finish the Tour de France on one of the world's most famous avenues, according to the Guardian.
“Those who make it on the podium can look forward to kisses from podium boys!” it was announced by the organisers of the legendary Grand Tour.
More importantly, it was announced that La Course – the official name of the race – would be broadcasted in 147 countries, with 12 television channels across 104 of the countries involved showing it live.
The exposure will be substantial and the organisers believe that only the Olympic Games women's cycling receives more publicity and this should go a long way to boost the team's search for sponsorships.
"We need a showcase and one has been provided for us," said the world champion, and probable race favourite in July, Marianne Vos, who was named patron of the race at the presentation at Paris's Hotel de Ville. "I'm delighted that Amaury Sport Organisation have understood and provided what we need."
120 cyclists will feature in La Course which will start at 12.45pm and will contain 13 laps of the Tour's famous finish circuit up and down the Champs Elysee, with the turns at Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe, covering a total distance of 90 kilometres.
The decision to launch the race has been helped by the fact that the last year's Tour finished later than in the past and this will be repeated in July, when the race is scheduled to finish around 7.30pm.
La Course will certainly not be the hardest race in the women's calendar given that it takes place exclusively on flat terrain but given the hefty prize money - €22.500 to equal the men's stage winner's prize in the evening – and the exposure, it might soon become prestigious.
The race will include an intermediate sprint for each lap with the points won counting towards a sprinter's award.
Women have not raced at the Tour de France since 1989 when the last woman's Tour was last held along with the men's race.
The group La Tour Entier has been leading the campaigning for a return for a full woman's Tour de France a petition organised by them gathered more than 80,000 signatures.
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