Aude – Tour de France: behind the scenes of the advertising caravan, the show in the race

The Tour de France is also its perpetual advertising caravan that animates the roads before the riders’ passage for the delight of the fans. This Tuesday, July 19th, day on the 16th stage, we were aboard the E.Leclerc convoy between Carcassonne and Limoux. A meticulous and very well-rehearsed ballet.

Caps, t-shirts, candy, keychains … every year, while waiting for the field and riders on the Grande Boucle to pass, the audience is waiting for only one thing: the caravan! For the second year in a row, the procession of 170 vehicles was in Carcassonne. This Tuesday, July 19th, just to see this other side of the Tour, behind the scenes, we were aboard the E.Leclerc floats to Limoux. And it’s a sport! The caravan day starts early! Since 7 a.m. this morning, the supermarket chain’s 25 animators have been in control.

500 caravans, 170 vehicles

Between the preparations, the debriefings with the team leader, the setting up of the tanks and above all the traditional dance before departure (all caravans of each brand meet to perform a kind of awakening), a total of no less than 500 caravans work on board the mastodon that is the big loop. A large, noisy – even intoxicating – barnum, very well lubricated, where everyone knows exactly what to do.

Vincent, seasonally determined, is in his fourth Tour.

10:30, boulevard Marcou, the hour for the big departure to Foix has arrived. Closing your eyes for a few seconds feels like you are on the beach. With good reason: the scent of sunscreen carried by the light breeze. “This is THE detail you must not skip if you do not want to burn”, emphasizes Vincent, a caravan. He is in his fourth round. Until Foix, ie for 178.5 km, he will be excited on the roof of the tank alternately handing out small gifts and animating the audience. To live this adventure, this ambulance driver from Cantal took a month of unpaid leave. Because “It’s a crazy thing to live”, he motivates.

“When I was a child, I followed the Tour of the Pyrenees with my father. I remember the atmosphere, of all nationalities mixed together, it was crazy. It affected me. Today it is the same. I love the idea of ​​joy people, when we pass by and throw treats after them.The children are gaping.It’s magic, entrusts seasonally. The other side of the coin is that we have good big days. Sometimes for more than twelve hours in a row. It’s not always easy to keep up with the times, but hey, it’s worth it! “

We also happen to see pairs of breasts and pairs of buttocks

Between Carcassonne and Limoux, like last year, there was the public. That morning, no grotesque spectacle. A couple of fans dressed up and made up in the colors of the Tour with their arms up as the caravan passes. It screams – loudly – it masses to collect as many gifts of all kinds as possible. That said, as Audrey, a second-year caravan, tells us, they happen to come across beautiful specimens while crossing France. “Everything has been done to attract our attention and to share items with them. This year we met some guys with a dump truck on the side of the road. They had filled the container with water to make a swimming pool. They paddled peacefully., beer in hand. […] We also happen to see a pair of breasts and buttocks “joker hun.

11.30. The caravan arrives in Limoux. It’s almost 1.30 before the runners. As in Carcassonne, magic happens. The adventure, ours, ends here. It’s time for the merry squad to conquer Ariège and make thousands of spectators dream.

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