Color, passion and determination – celebrating our partnership with the Tour de France

How do you mark your involvement with one of the most famous sporting events in the world? Like this…

Exciting, colorful, challenging – the Tour de France is all those things. And so is AkzoNobel, so it’s little wonder we wanted to partner with this prestigious race.

We’re beyond proud to be an Official Supplier to such an incredible event, and ‘Le Tour-mania’ swept our sites and offices as people came up with some enterprising ways to celebrate. Key among these is our very own fantasy league, which pits colleagues around the globe against each other to see whose team will come out on top.

It’s a great way for our people to connect and engage with each other, no matter where they’re based or what they do. They don’t even need to know anything about cycling; there’s definitely an element of luck involved in picking a successful team, and ‘experts’ won’t necessarily come out on top.


Rising to the challenge

Three people who deserve a special round of applause are Michiel Boonekamp, Head of Marketing in France, Boudewijn van Schaik, Head of Business, and Roland Gelauff, Head of Risk and Internal Control, both based in the Netherlands.

The trio teamed up to take part in L’Etape du Tour, a chance to ride an actual stage of the Tour de France under controlled race conditions. They were among 16,000 amateur cyclists tackling a grueling 167.8km route from Briançon to Alpe d’Huez in France, facing the same physical and psychological demands as the professional riders in the peloton.

Although Michiel made it to the foot of l’Alpe d’Huez, nine and a half hours on his bike took its toll and he was happy to let his two companions finish the course without him. That takes nothing away from the monumental effort by all involved – and it was a fantastic experience.

A very special atmosphere

The partnership also allows us to offer some of our customers a unique insight into Le Tour through a dedicated hospitality program. There’s nothing like getting up close and personal to a live event to really soak up the buzz of anticipation and the vibrant atmosphere. It’s almost tangible and truly exceptional.

We can’t all experience it in person, of course, but there’s still no shortage of enthusiasm for the race throughout the rest of AkzoNobel. Here are just a few of the other special events that have taken place across our sites:

  • In Slough, UK, a seven-strong team embarked on the ‘Tour de Berkshire’. After cycling 11 miles to a nearby primary school, they brightened pupils’ lives and transformed a run-down sports shed with a colorful, bespoke design – and then cycled back again.
  • More than 200 people gathered for a Tour de France barbecue at our Deco site in Montataire, France. As well as enjoying delicious food, they took part in a special quiz where the first prize was a bicycle – a good way to work off the burgers consumed earlier!
  • Danish and Swedish colleagues at our Malmö site in Sweden got the inside track on what makes a great Tour de France rider when former professional cyclists Catherine Ringvig Marsal and Thomas Davy, both famous names on the world cycling stage, stopped by for croissants and coffee.
  • There’s nothing like nailing your colors to the mast, as the saying goes – and if there’s one thing we’re not short of at AkzoNobel, it’s color. Our employees in Pamiers, France, decided to create a Tour de France banner across the side of the site to proclaim their support for Le Tour, while some also took part in a bike ride to mark the event.
  • Not content with their own version of the famous race, Tour fans in Slough, UK, wanted a more visible show of their support. Resident artist Chalky was enlisted to create a special themed piece of artwork – taking up the whole of a blackboard wall, it certainly made an impact!
  • In France, our 120 Sikkens Solutions stores – not to mention 175 independent wholesalers – really got into the spirit of things and embraced our Tour de France partnership. They decorated in Le Tour colors to create vibrant retail spaces, with customers receiving special offers and discounts to celebrate.
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