Beware the tour Skoda Yeti!

When I ran around Morzine on my first day in town, I wasn't quite sure how I'd find somewhere to do a VO2 session on the bike. It all seemed rather hilly.

I'd been on the lookout all week, and finally settled on the perfect stretch of road for a VO2 MAX session. I'd ridden it on my big ride on Saturday, and scoped it out on the way down to Lake Geneva. A nice long flat stretch, with enough straight to be able to turn safely.

So I felt fully prepared for a good session when I set out this morning. Little did I know that the Tour de France Publicity Caravan, not the impossible terrain, would be my downfall.
It was a quick ride out of Morzine towards Thonon les Bains, and it wasn't hard to settle into a rhythm for my efforts.

My first effort was somewhat uneventful, just one pass by a newspaper on wheels.

On my second effort, I was passed by a giraffe, getting ready for the day ahead with some undefined up-tempo music blaring.

A what?

All of these vehicles are part of 'Caravan Publicitaire' of the Tour de France. By Australian standards, kind of like a street carnival on speed.

It's a little known fact that the Tour de France was started as a national promotion for flailing sports newspaper L'Auto. The publicity caravan was introduced in 1930 to increase the revenue for tour organisers, who had to foot the bill for the new arrangement of national teams rather than sponsored teams.

These days, there's no doubt the caravan remains a revenue source for the organisers, but is also a handy way of keeping thousands of people entertained

In 2010, Tour de France organisers claim that 39% of all spectators are drawn by the caravan, not the cycling - the allure of free stuff is greater now than ever before, it seems.

By now I had visions of being flattened by the Skoda Yeti. Time to get out!

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