Bolivia, Paraguay and Bolivia went off the rails as the temperatures climbed in Rio de Janeiro this week. These were the three countries that were completely overlooked by the caravan of colour, which began on Monday on Avenida Paulista and carried spectators and bands of percussionists for 566 miles.
The yellow jersey winner Tom Boonen, of Belgium, said the sights and sounds of the day had been “very special”. Thanks to the Potteiro permit, each country received about 70% of its share of the audience, and the cheering of Paraguayans and nearly 3 million Bolivians, might have been credited with helping Boonen finish in second place. Paraguay’s delegation secretary, Omar Castaneda, said the result was a “disappointment” that Brazil had ignored “several times” in the past. He added: “There was no protocol, none of the requirements. It was always disregarded.” A representative of the team from Bolivia, Vicente Lopez, said “it’s difficult to get the nuances or the logos on the road, but they knew how to do this.”
Boonen downplayed it, saying the goal was to “raise awareness of climate change issues”. But when it comes to Rio, he added, “I do believe that if you are aware and you do a lot of things, you don’t get played.”
One avenue of the tour has changed this year: there are no more 538 miles. But the route for the 2024 Games runs much the same, from Rio to Paragominas, in the Northeast. You can see the routing on the Rio 2016 website.