Tour de France: Secrets Behind the Support Cars
The Tour de France is the most prestigious cycling race in the world and of course, although the bikes take centre stage, the cars have a crucial role to play in the historic event.
It's a gruelling 23-day race, covering 2,116 miles across France, putting the cyclist's grit, endurance and skill to the test.
But the support cars play a vital role in ensuring the Tour de France runs smoothly. This is from a logistical perspective but also more importantly, ensuring the cyclists have emergency support readily available throughout the race.
Race Director's Car
Now, let's start with the leading car of the Tour de France – the race director's car!
This vehicle is known as the ‘red car’ at the Tour de France and this year's title sponsors Skoda have supplied the Race Director Christian Prudhomme with an Enyaq Sportline iV.
This year celebrates Skoda's 20-year anniversary as main-title sponsor with the Tour de France, after introducing the first electric director car in 2020.
The sleek Enyaq Sportline iV leads the peloton, paving the way by clearing roads and sending a cheerful honk to fans along the route.
But this car is more than just a honking head-turner; it's a true mobile command centre, equipped with a state-of-the-art radio console that keeps everyone connected.
The director observes and evaluates the race from this car, issuing flag commands to launch a stage or make strategic decisions.
Skoda Enyaq iV SportLine
- Fuel: Electric
- Electric driving range: 312 miles
- Maximum rapid charging rate: 135 kW
- Price: £47,875
- 0-62 mph: 6.7 seconds
Neutral Support Cars
We've covered the 'red' car, and now we turn our focus to the neutral support car, which is a distinctive shade of blue, following the sponsorship deal with Shimano.
The neutral support car does exactly what it says on the tin. Their job is to be on hand and assist any rider who requires support when their own team is not close by to help.
It's essentially an emergency bike shop on wheels, offering spare tyres, chains, cranksets and even a whole new bike (if needed! 😳)
There's also one neutral support car at the front of the pack, with the director's car, carrying three bikes specially adjusted to the specifications of the three leading riders.
But if the cyclists are in the shout for a podium, more often than not the teams are on hand for any problems which arise.
They may not be at the top of this list, but you cannot underestimate the role the support car plays in success at the Tour de France.
They offer everything from replacement bikes and parts, first aid, refreshments and anything else the rider may require.
For example, ensuring a rider is fed and hydrated is crucial - on average they can consume anywhere from 4,000 to 9,000 calories per day during the event.
Very lucky competition winners with Skoda are given a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Skoda's Hospitality Programme winners are chauffeured around in front of the peloton as well as being treated to a helicopter flight over the race.
So you may see these guys having the time of their life as the riders finish the 2,116 mile race in Paris on July 23rd.
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