Every year since 1930, the procession has been as eagerly awaited as that of the runners.
Thin for obvious commercial and logistical reasons during the first three stages in Denmark, the advertising caravan of the Tour de France set off on Tuesday from Dunkirk to reach Calais, a few hours before the peloton.
And, if the atmosphere was festive throughout the 171 km of the course, it is at the cost of a precise organization.
When we arrived at the departure site, there was no time to admire the 150 vehicles, representing around thirty brands.
Because we are warned from the outset: “The departure will be at 11:05 a.m. sharp.
If you're not there, too bad!
A manager communicates with the drivers by earpiece and makes everyone rush forward, the commercial weight of a brand defining its place in the procession.
Manage inventory of goodies
On the road, the party is total.
Thousands of people wave their arms, hoping to receive the famous Cochonou bobs.
Our "tank" distributes T-shirts: on this day of baccalaureate results, Krys promotes its "white stage", which aims to offer two hours of school support for each white T-shirt worn during the day .
Stock management of goodies is essential, because you have to reach the finish without having exhausted the thousand t-shirts carried by the vehicle.
The distribution, like everything else, is perfectly regulated: we do not distribute at the stop to avoid crowds, and we do not do it either in certain sections of the route, "privatized" by other brands.
And, if the road is obviously closed, the procession is far from freewheeling.
Drivers abandon the classic Highway Code to adopt new rules, supervised by bikers from the gendarmerie.
Each morning, the route is studied with a "roadbook", a briefing, and information from two bikers who open the route.
At an average of 40 km/h, the caravan crossed the line almost an hour before the winner of the day, Wout Van Aert, in Calais.
But there is no time to take a break: on Wednesday, you will have to be ready to start again.
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