The Tour Caravan: let the party begin!
Although the Tour de France is a major sporting event, it is also a huge travelling shop window for its corporate sponsors. At the same time, the Tour’s publicity caravan is a daily opportunity for fun, entertainment and lots of activities ahead of the arrival of the peloton.
On every stage, another type of tour travels along the roads of France – a caravan of around 180 corporate advertising vehicles which among other things ensure that the route is clear for competitors hurtling towards the finish line in each host town or city.
Amid a cacophony of car horns, staff on vehicles that are often completely unique in design warm up the crowds lining the route. In response to the cries of spectators, thousands of gadgets and other gifts bearing the name and logo of their respective companies are hurled towards spectators in an ambience of popular fervour.
A travelling fiesta!
Amid a flurry of baseball caps, drinks, hats, food and T-shirts emblazoned with logos and names, companies will stop at nothing to raise the excitement level of cycling fans keen to snap a souvenir of any description. And it works!
Spectators will fling themselves at the most desirable gifts which after the riders have flown past will be a reminder that they were part of the world’s biggest and most challenging cycle race. While all this is going on, avid cycling fans will be listening to vital race information as it filters through via the publicity caravan: in under an hour they will have the chance to welcome, cheer on and support their idols.
The caravan… a tour fixture since 1930
In historical terms, the publicity caravan, which brings together leading French and international brand names, is an integral part of the Tour. In fact, its myriad colourful vehicles, with their often eclectic designs and moving at a slow speed, have been part of the Tour’s tradition since 1930, bringing a fun, relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere to this leading sporting event.
Is it not this cleverly orchestrated and festive atmosphere, coupled with extraordinary sporting exploits, which gives the Tour de France its unique flavour?