Is this a first for cycling? We have “grid girls” on the start line of Tirreno-Adriatico.
Note this is in Italy. Often it feels like no presentation on the Giro is complete without a blond model and the Giro picks a woman every year as its madrina, a woman tasked with blessing the race in the same way a woman might launch a ship.
If you haven’t heard of grid girls before, you haven’t seen motorbike racing. It’s common in motorsport where riders on the start line are often accompanied by a woman with an umbrella… and not much else.
There’s a difference in that a motorbike race wearing heavy leather. Riders can cook in the sun whilst they wait for the start to happen and so the shade of an umbrella is actually useful. The logoed umbrellas are valuable publicity too. Obviously the model and bikinis are not part of this practical aspect and the display will please some and enrage others but what I’m saying is that if there’s a possible excuse for an umbrella on the grid of a motorbike race, it seems a little bit surplus for a bike race.