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At the start, on the road, and at the end of the stages, the little yellow trucks from the official Grande Boucle store are everywhere, and the salespeople are busy. Contrary to expectations, the restrictions due to the health context and the postponement of the event to September did not kill the trade in Tour de France stamped souvenirs, far from it.
A bottle for the son, a cap for the sister, and a t-shirt because it is necessary to mark the occasion: in Clermont, this Saturday morning, all the excuses are good to offer, or to treat oneself, a souvenir “Tour of France “. The shop truck is a little yellow beehive around which the barge constantly buzzes, no matter the season.
« We had a lot of uncertainties with these staggered dates, especially after a timid and tense start to Nice, which had just passed into the “Covid red zone”, admits Clément, one of the managers, with five years of experience in the store. But for a big week, I have been very pleasantly surprised. There is a lot of people, there is enthusiasm, and the sales figures are similar to those of July, sometimes even better depending on the day. »
When the Tour passes, the city stops
Could it be the weather, very pleasant from the start, an irresistible desire to go out, to participate in the party? Probably a bit of all that. In any case, in the absence of the usual foreign clientele of the Tour, the French are there and everyone is playing along.
« When the race passes in a region, companies let employees go out, schools organize an outing for children, and all that is very interesting for us because people stop “, Notes Clément, who still has to deal this year with a reduced system, and inevitably new constraints:” With more vehicles and personnel, we could attempt blows, leave before or after the caravan. Today, we must carefully study the route, the cities crossed, and adopt the most pragmatic strategy possible to stop in the right places. »
For the 15th stage, this Sunday, September 13, the choice will be limited, access to the Biche and Grand Colombier passes being closed to the public.