What's Cool In Road Cycling

Podium Girls: Meet Maria Josй!

Most of you know we’ve spent the last 12 months approaching beautiful Podium Girls (often at our own peril), just to bring you wonderful photos of another excellent aspect of our sport. As Alastair discovered when he got up the nerve to say hello to Maria Josй at the Vuelta… these women do an impressive amount more than just look good…

After last years La Vuelta a Espaсa, I’ve been asked a lot of questions, not about the race, but about the Daily Distractions. Are they dumb airheads? Do they know any-thing about cycling? Well some of them maybe like that, but Mara Josй definitely isn’t.

All the podium girls must have that winning smile, beautiful eyes, be tall, have long legs, cute totty and a nice pair of norks. Maria Josй has all of these and more. She also has time to talk to everyone; some of the girls look at you as if you were some kind of perv, or is it just me?

This year is Maria Josй’s third working on La Vuelta, two years for Telefonica and this year for the official car supplier for La Vuelta, Ford. An average day for her would be an early start of 11 o’clock at the race village handing out free goodies to the hoards of greedy, shameless fans who would tear your hand off for any thing they don’t have to pay for, you should see them when the free food comes out, it’s frightening! After the start Maria Josй has to go on a more direct route to the finish where she will sit on the bonnet of a car and look good for the TV cameras as they do the daily interviews with the stars, which takes her up to about 7 o’clock. Then it’s onto to day’s hotel to get ready for to nights “fiesta” which would be dancing until 4 or 5 in the morning (oh to be young!) but no alcohol, yes lads she doesn’t drink.

So, more about Maria Josй, there’s not much chance of you chatting her up, unless you speak Spanish, the only word in English she used to me was “teacher” that is her full time job, professor to 9 to 10 year olds, (lucky sods!), every year she works on the Vuelta in her holidays, but she’s due back to school for the kids in October. She has her own apartment in central Madrid, and get this, she’s single!

Unlike some of the girls she does follow cycling, we spoke before the eleven kilometer time trial stage from El Escorial up the Alto de Abantos, Isidro Nozal of ONCE was leading Roberto Heras by 1 minute 55 seconds, Maria Josй didn’t think Nozal could be beaten and would go on to Madrid in Gold. She didn’t get that right, but cycling isn’t her first interest, that would be motor-sport followed by tennis, her favorite cyclist? the mothers’ choice, Oscar Sevilla.

Well that was my flirt with glamour over, she had to go and look good and I had a seat in a team car up the mountain. My last question, we’re in Madrid tomorrow, will you be going home after the stage? That’s when I got that look of “how stupid are you?” “The last night of the Vuelta, go home! Tonight is going to be the biggest fiesta of the three weeks!”

Now there’s a girl with a head on her shoulders…

Thanks, Maria Josй.

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