The broom wagon (not to be confused with a "sag wagon") is the name for the vehicle that follows a cycling road race "sweeping" up stragglers who are unable to make it to the finish of the race within the time permitted.
In the Tour de France the vehicle used was traditionally a Citroën H Van. The expression "broom wagon" is a translation of the French, voiture balai, and it was seen first at the Tour de France 1910. The broom wagon of the Tour de France did indeed once carry a broom fixed above the driver's cab—except in the years that it was sponsored by a vacuum-cleaner company.
The use of broom wagons has expanded to other sports events—especially in marathon events a broom wagon is a common feature. In marathons many people from the neighbourhood join in who are not able to reach the finish line within the allocated time. The broom wagon puts an end to their race. Also off-road races like the Dakar Rally have come to use a broom wagon that follows on the track picking up motorists who have broken down.
Trailing races there is usually a "broom bike". Bigger races use a motorcycle, but smaller events will use a race marshal on a bicycle. He "sweeps" the course to ensure that it is clear. Whilst it cannot pick up incapacitated competitors, it may offer limited mechanical assistance and phone for assistance.
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