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La Caravane du Tour is a forty-five minute to one-hour long parade of specially designed advertising vehicles that rolls ahead of the Tour de France. The Tour de France is the largest sport event held every year, and includes around two hundred cyclists racing over two thousand miles over the course of twenty-three days. Most of the race is in France, but sometimes the race does enter into countries that border France. There are twenty-two teams from around the world that participate, and the race usually takes place during the month of July.
The Tour de France began in 1903, and was a publicity stunt created by Henri Desgrange to raise awareness of his newspaper, L'Auto. The caravan of the Tour de France started in 1930 when Henri Desgrange sought a way to pay for the bicycles race organizers supplied riders. The first line up of vehicles promoting French products was a hit, and the caravan became a tradition.
The advertisers driving their specialized vehicles give away freebies to spectators; one estimate stated there were fourteen million small items given away by La Caravane du Tour. Many people who have not seen the Tour de France in person are unfamiliar with the La Caravane du Tour as it is not included in the annual television broadcasting of the Tour de France. But catching the caravan, seeing the fantastic vehicles, and getting lots of free items is one of the big draws for in-person spectators every year.
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Tour de France: The history of the La Caravane Du Tour. (2017). Retrieved 24 March 2021, from https://www.cnn.com/2017/07/17/sport/tour-de-france-caravan/index.html