Prudhomme says Tour de France start in Qatar possible. The podium girl shortage.

One is not enough.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme confirmed that Qatar is interested in hosting several tour stages in the near future.

Setting aside the time changes, air travel and many dangers of the Persian Gulf, Twisted Spoke asks, does Qatar have the requisite number of sexy podium girls for a major ProTour event? It’s a desert out there.

Prudhomme himself appeared to address the podium babe issue, telling cyclingnews, “I am not sure if something will work out [as regards that].” The Frenchman is obviously holding his cards close to the vest — a tour start in Qatar is still a long ways off. The podium girl situation could change drastically.

The county hosts the Tour of Qatar, a six stage race held in January and won last year by Belgian Tom Boonen.

However, the tour had only one podium girl from Qatar and after several stages she was rushed to a hospital suffering from exhaustion. Qatar officials admit the lack of high quality podium girls is a stumbling block for hosting an event with as much prestige as the Tour de France.

“We are scouring the cities, towns, even the camel caravans that pass through the desert,” said Sheik Ahmed Al-Zekir. “We will find these sexy girls who spray champagne on our most illustrious guests in lycra.” The sheik also promised there would be no kidnapping of young girls from neighboring gulf states or down-on-their-luck stewardesses from the Midwest hoping to make a quick buck.

Race commentators have noted that the alcohol laws of Qatar are in part to blame for the difficulties. The limited number of public bars and nightclubs in Qatar operate only in expensive hotels and clubs. This puts a damper on the development of the local party girls.

Also still in heated discussion, the podium girl attire. While the Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta lean toward the classic tight, fitted skirt, the arab podium girl is more likely to wear a bulky robe that reveals no leg, bare arms or plunging neckline.

At this point, Prudhomme would only say, “We’ve met. I went over there.” That doesn’t sound like champagne and kisses to us.

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