Gallery: The publicity caravan of the Tour de France

When the race becomes a sideshow

The Tour de France is first and foremost cycling's biggest and most prestigious stage race in the world. But preceding the peloton from start to finish is another spectacle: the publicity caravan.

Consisting of dozens of elaborately crafted specialty vehicles and taking nearly an hour to pass, it's a daily parade – and a parade of advertising and small giveaways – that, according to the Tour de France, is actually the main draw for nearly 40 percent of spectators on hand.

Take a look at some of the elements that bring all those people in. The Tour de France may be a bicycle race but for at least a portion of the folks at roadside, the peloton is merely a sideshow.

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA
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