Driving the Tour de France: Skoda to Renault to Peugeot

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CAP FREHEL, France — Bugatti, Citroën, Peugeot and Renault are current major car automakers in France. And with the exception of Bugatti, the French highways and country roads are often crowded with offerings from the other three carmakers now all more than 100 years old.

Skoda, the Czechoslovakian carmaker, is the official car supplier of the Tour de France. But other than official race vehicles, Skoda models are scarce in the country, although, of course, not as scarce as Bugatti models.

Images © James Raia

In the early years of the Tour de France, cars traveling with riders were loaded down with spare parts, not only for cyclists’ bikes but extra car equipment for the rugged journeys negotiating the snow-covered roads of the Alps and Pyrenees.

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Among its many salutes to its history, cars of yesteryear are often remembered by the Tour de France, with some of the black and white images featured in race history books.

For the past few years, the race has also featured one of its historic vehicles on display, like the images in this post of the four-color station wagon parked in the day in starting city’s village. The village is the daily meet, greet, eat, drink and relax location for media, team riders, sponsors, VIPs and invited guests.

On the route from the stage 5 start in Carhaix to Cap Frehel, I stopped for water and to check GPS coordinates and combination convenience store and Renault dealership. The small showroom featured new and old models.

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