Laura Antoine, a St. Louis Model, Offers More Kisses as Tour de France Podium Girl

Check out 30-year-old St. Louisan Laura Antoine, back again as one of the few non-French ladies to ever serve as podium girl in the Tour de France.

Sunday's New York Times called her "a long-limbed, green-eyed hostess" working for Skoda (which is an auto company currently sponsoring the white jersey, an honor bestowed upon the best young rider).

Continued the Times:
Last year, she smacked her head against a television crane before walking onto the podium, needing an ambulance and one stitch. It was just a part of the job, she said, explaining that hostesses often worked 12-plus-hour days, stayed in two-star hotels and worked outside in rain, heat and humidity -- all while maintaining their poise.

"You do it because you get to travel all around France and meet so many different people," Antoine said. "It might be old-fashioned, but most of us consider it a real honor."

A former showgirl at the Lido in Paris, she applied through a modeling agency. She was chosen from 50 hopefuls because of her upbeat personality, her willingness to work long hours without complaint and her ability to speak French and English, said Natasha Renaudie, a project manager for an independent communications firm that works with Skoda.
Here's a YouTube video of Antoine from last year's Tour: