Grid girls

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Grid girls

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.

Superbike

Look at that rear! (are they carbon silencers?)

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.

Pin It

{ 13 comments }

natalie March 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm

The Giro usually has the umbrella girls at the start also so it’s not anything new though could just be restricted to high profile Italian races.

TdF Lanterne Rouge March 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Yeah, and who says women don’t get treated equally in the sport of cycling? *eyeroll*

natalie March 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Sorry for double comment but this is from the Giro last year:
http://www.steephill.tv/2010/giro-d-italia/photos/stage-14/#097-Tappa 14-22.jpg

The Inner Ring March 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Natalie: no need to apologise, thanks for finding it. I did start writing “I think it happened in the Giro” but couldn’t find the pictures of the umbrellas, although I knew they employed models (http://inrng.com/?p=234). Thanks for confirming this.

EDnl March 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Umbrella Girls USA have been doing cycling races for a few years (5 or so?) e.g. http://www.flickr.com/photos/52718681@N08/5061048672/

Jay Taylor March 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Not being a woman, I certainly cannot comment on their behalf, but I think the umbrella girls are a cool tradition. Let’s face it: women are beautiful! A sunny day full of eager riders, beautiful ladies, and colorful uniforms is a wonderful sight to behold. I believe that women are peers and equals with men, and though this practice does by its very definition objectify women, I still think it’s a pretty innocuous display and certainly not demeaning. Just my 2 cents.

hamncheeze March 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Yet another method for a potential sponsor to get some exposure. I don’t see a problem here, it is not like the women are dressing too scantily, really no different than a podium girl or any of the sponsor girls who are around the race depart. If it brings money, it’s all good as long things stay “in bounds”. IMO.

Touriste-Routier March 13, 2011 at 5:50 am

We had the Umbrella Girls http://www.umbrellagirlsusa.com/index1.php at the 2oo8 USA Crit Series Final in Las Vegas: http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/photos.php?id=/photos/2008/sep08/usacritsfinal08/JD_08VegasCrit008

Needless to say, but they were quite popular. It was a bit over the top, even by Vegas standards. They certainly made my job as chief whip a little more interesting.

D March 14, 2011 at 12:43 am

I support innovative ideas in cycling – radios, lighter bikes, and now grid girls.

The Inner Ring March 14, 2011 at 8:29 am

It seems many of you are in favour of this!

Interesting to see the examples in the US. I was going to make a comparison to podium girls but wanted to keep the piece short.

Kieran March 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I have to laugh, in the picture the lucky riders are all in the shade anyway and in EDnl’s example the brollies aren’t doing their job. Maybe ther need some training or be UCI certified?

cigo March 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm

At the risk of sounding chauvinist, women in bikinis are never surplus…

db March 15, 2011 at 3:14 am

No different to the podium..
The tradition of Podium girls is so entrenched, I think the guy in the white robe at the Tour of Oman was lucky not to cop a kiss on the cheek when he handed over the winner’s flowers. Just an automatic reaction…

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: