The pretty girls on the vans will wave back and maybe even throw you a hat, a bag, a pack of sweets, or biscuits; and the Vittel wagon will even skoosh you with some of the sponsor’s product – great on a hot day, provided your camera is out of the way.
PEZ took time on Saturday’s stage from Colmar to Besancon to have a look at the weird and wonderful collection of contraptions that is the Tour caravan.
Skoda: have their new four wheel drive on display – and hey! what’s that on the roof? Oh my God! It’s the vehicle’s namesake – a Yeti!
Haribo: the company that keeps dentists all over Europe busy, has a big presence; bears and fruit sprout from the roof of the cars.
Antargas: have a smart sports car with a huge gas bottle on the roof.
Bbox: have two floats with cyclist figures astride them in team kit, promoting their internet services. One has a striking resemblance to ‘Tommy’ Voeckler – scary!
Rotterdam: next year’s start city has a presence on the caravan, too.
Belin: have Harley trikes promoting their wares and dispense nice little bags of their crackers, if you can catch the pretty girl’s eye.
PMU: the betting chain, have striking life size, jumping horses to promote their services.
Etap Hotels: have a rather tempting looking bed on wheels – hey! Boss, can we get one of those?
Roadsign: sportswear have kangaroos on the roof and a non stop dijeredoo sound track; at the end of the Tour, the drivers have to get therapy.
Cofidis: are here ‘credite par telephon.”
Carrefour: the supermarket chain who sponsor the king of the mountains prize, have a fleet of polka dot convertibles and trucks.
Panach: soft drinks have all manner of huge bottles and six packs, in orange and green – and yes, all this lot goes over the Pyrenees and Alps.
Xtra: washing liquid dish out slippery free samples.
Gendarmerie: yeah, even the ‘po-lees’ know a good way of recruiting, when they see it.
Vittel: is the jewel in the crown of the caravan; they run a crazy race within a race; “coureurs” on motor bike side cars pedal the course, complete with DS and fans – mad! And if that ain’t enough they blast you with water jets too!
Kleber: tyres have Smart Cars disguised as huge tyres.
Cochonou: salami have all manner of Citroen 2CV’s painted in red gingham to look like restaurant table cloths.
Francaise des Jeux: the French lottery have shamrocks aplenty.
L’Aujordhui: newspaper has massive figures reading the news.
Caisse D’Epargne: the bank have crash hatted giraffes on the float; and of course, their squirrel mascot – but does he get to bury nuts in Italy?
Festina: watches have massive time pieces atop trucks made to look like giant crash hats – but weren’t Festina…
Credit Lyonnais: The big French bank and long time sponsor of the maillot jaune – the Tour wouldn’t be the same without those cuddly stuffed lions on the podium.
And there’s the break down wagon – those ASO boys think of everything!
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