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France: Tour de France 2010 - Motorcycle and Some Figures

  Posted at 07:30:00 AM
  File under  Racing France
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France
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Tour de France logo
I can't think of any race, apart from the Dakar Open link in a new window, that attracts so much attention, and that is the Tour de France Open link in a new window bicycle race. Not only is the race impressive, since you require almost superhuman strength and stamina (hence the often cases of doping), but also the organization of such an event is incredible. It's no surprise that both races, the Dakar and the Tour, are both organized by the same organization, ASO Open link in a new window.

The motorcycles on the tour are numerous. I already wrote two articles on them (see at the bottom of this article). But what about the rest of the Tour?

Just have a look at the publicity caravan. The publicity caravan consists of the cars, truck and floats that make up the sponsors of the Tour. In other words, you pay the Tour the big bucks, and then you can not only put your logo on billboards and posters, but also you enter a truck or two in the parade.

The parade itself is about 20 kilometers long, with some 160 vehicles representing 33 brands. During the parade, gifts are thrown at the eagerly awaiting public, 16 million gifts to be precise. Usually, the gifts are product samples. According to a recent survey, 39% of the Tour's spectators come foremost to see the publicity caravan.

The parade lasts about 45 minutes, and is managed by 12 republican guard police (most on a motorcycle) and 4 traffic regulators on motorcycles (Kawasaki Open link in a new window, since they are the sponsors). There are also 3 medical motorcycles for people who might faint when they receive a free gift...

Click for bigger version of Tour de France 2010 Kawasaki
Open image in a new window

It cost the companies €200,000 to €500,000 to invest for the parade, and since the publicity caravan was invented 80 years ago, and is still going strong, I'd say that the investment pays off.

Have a look at the video below of the publicity caravan.

Kawasaki have been one of the big sponsors for a few years now. They supply all the official motorcycles (some 27 motorcycles), for the Tour staff & stewards, medics and publicity caravan. You can read more about it in the related articles below.

Click for bigger version of Tour de France 2010 Kawasaki
Open image in a new window

But it's not only Kawasaki that ride the Tour....:

Tour de France Media Motorcycle
© A.S.O. / Bruno Bade
Some other figures that may interest you.

TV Cameras

There are some 260 TV cameramen (and women, I guess), most of them riding pillion on a motorcycle, or standing at the sidelines, transmitting images to 118 TV stations in 186 countries around the world.

Most motorcycles are BMWs. Often they have got 6 figures already on the clock, and are old model LTs, RTs and a few GSs. My former BMW garage in Paris used to (and probably still does) maintain many of the TV station motorcycles, and I was always amazed at the age of these bikes.

Tour de France Media Motorcycle
© A.S.O.

If you think the job as rider is easy, think again. In most cases, you need to be riding extremely slowly in & out of traffic, with not only a heavy TV camera, but also a cameraman who is moving nonstop, shifting your center of gravity at low speed. And then on the downhill parts of the mountains, you need to not only ride fast through the curves, taking care not to hit the cyclists, but also allow them the perfect curve angle. Not easy.

There are also some 240 photographers working the tour, representing 70 agencies and newspapers. Most of them are riding pillion on the back of usually newer BMW motorcycles.

Tour de France Publicity Caravan
(5 minutes 6 seconds)

Click to see the Video clip

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