Example of publicity caravan for Tour de France

Škoda & L’Équipe© A.S.O. – B. Bade

The official route for the 2013 Tour de France has been announced, and this year cycling fans in the Pays de la Loire and Brittany only have one stage on their turf.

Stage 10 runs 193km from Saint-Gildas des Bois to Saint-Malo, finishing just beneath the ramparts.

This is the 100th edition of the race, and the first time it has started from Saint-Gildas des Bois (although I do remember we had to take a lengthy detour back to our ferry last year because ‘Le Tour’ was in the area).

Although for spectators the main action of a tour stage is over very quickly (making for blurry photos), the build up during the morning is quite entertaining, with the publicity ‘caravan’ including some interesting floats and handing out free gifts to those lining the roadsides. The caravan takes around 45 minutes to pass, and is used to fire up the crowd into a frenzy ready for the race itself. According to the Tour de France website, 39% of spectators turn up first and foremost to see the publicity caravan!

If you’re thinking of going this year, get there early to make sure you don’t miss the caravan, and don’t lean too far over the road to get your photos of the cyclists or you might end up with a face full of bike – they travel faster than you imagine!

Have you been to a stage of the Tour de France? Tell us about it by commenting below.

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