The 2017 Vuelta a España is set to replace 'podium girls' with men and women in tasteful attire, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
Following the lead of the Tour Down Under and several other events, race organiser Unipublic will make the Spanish three-week race the first of the three Grand Tours to move on from a practice that has faced increasing criticism in recent years, with some considering it an archaic tradition.
"We are sensitive to the social and media debate that has been generated in recent months about the presence of hostesses of the podiums," Javier Guillen, director of Unipublic, told El Mundo. "In Australia, the presence of the podium girls has already been done away with, the same as in other races in Spain. We are not able to ignore these concerns and therefore we will incorporate some changes in the upcoming Vuelta. We are going to make a few adjustments. We are still working on it. What we do will always be with elegance."
According to El Mundo, the Vuelta may also do away with kisses from female podium hostesses.
"We are still analysing possibilities. What we decide will be seen at the start of the Vuelta a España in Nimes on August 19," Guillén said.
Although Unipublic is owned by Tour de France organisers ASO, according to the report, no such changes are in store for either the Tour or the Giro d'Italia at the moment.
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