As well as almost 200 pro-cyclists in the Tour de France, there also comes the almighty corporate caravan which travels the 3,000km route.
Every day of the three-week long tour, a train of open-backed vehicles – stretching several kilometres in length – entertains the crowds and millions upon millions of freebies are thrown out to spectators ahead of the arrival of the cyclists themselves.
But environmental groups have condemned the avalanche of plastic the tradition generates.
The range of trinkets is broad, with companies flinging bottles of water, key rings, cycling hats, plastic rain ponchos, bumbags, wristbands, badges, toys, biscuits, sweets, and even samples of washing powder, most of which are made out of, or are wrapped in, plastic.
One company, Cochonous, gives away around seven tonnes of plastic-wrapped mini sausages and more than 100,000 sun hats over the period of the Tour.
Many advertisers are long-term members of the Tour caravan, and the event is a key marketing opportunity. Other advertisers include Bic pens, St Michel biscuits and tyre manufacturer Continental.
Organisers say that by the time this year’s event ends on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday, 15 million freebies will have been tossed to the crowds.
They say that a few years ago it was 18 million, but the environmentalists say the “Tour de Plastic” has to do more.
“The giving away of ‘goodies’ has to be totally rethought. The ecological emergency demands action,” French politician Francois-Michel Lambert told Reuters.
Mr Lambert is one of 30 legislators who, together with six charities including Zero Waste France and Surfrider Foundation Europe, have written an open letter to the Tour’s organisers calling for action.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme responded with a letter in the sports daily L’Equipe saying sponsors now had to pledge to reduce plastic, and items such as caps and t-shirts were being distributed without plastic wrapping.