It's not all fast descents and swooping corners at the Tour de France. Take the publicity caravan, for example. The brightly coloured parade that precedes the peloton exists primarily to entertain the crowds that wait hours for a few seconds of excitement as the race passes by.
Race sponsors and various vendors use the time to market their wares and engage with fans along the route, offering an onslaught of freebies and giveaways that keep the spectators decked out in polka dot hats, green jerseys and extra-large glasses.
Loud music and dancing typify the passing party, as oversized, frites, fish and farm implements parade in front of the pleading throngs, keeping them amped up before the race arrives. It's just one of the oddities that makes the Tour de France a unique event in the world of sport.
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a glimpse of the caravan characters.