07 July 2011

Word of the day at the TDF: voiture balai

Voiture balai: broom wagon

Are you telling me the man inside the broom wagon at the 2011 Tour de France is a former French National Cyclocross Champion - are you kidding me? As if that were not enough, James Starrt tells us that he is the same man who handed Jens Voigt his famous small yellow bike with toes clips in the 2010 Tour de France. Read more about Alain Daniel - the true Man Behind the Tour in this super great article by James Startt at Bicycling.com In the shadow of the Broom Wagon.

The broom wagon was first introduced in 1910 in response to the riders objections to the condition and length of the famous proposed stage across the Pyrenees which included the Col de Peyresourde, Col d’Apsin, Col du Tourmalet, Col du Soulor, and the Col d’Aubisque in one day. The riders were afraid of being left out on the road alone. Exactly the sort of drama the race organizers were looking for, but the riders said one collective no Thank you. We can thank those early riders for creating the broom wagon, a prime topic to harass your friends.

Read more about pressing the riders to go to extremes in the early days of the Tour at this previous post by PedalDancer.com Five peaks in one day? Of course back in 1910 riders were allowed to finish the stage in the broom wagon and start again the following day. No more of that.

The good old broom wagon (I am sure he's a model or he'd be crying).

No more brooms either. The new broom wagons used by A.S.O have no brooms, but they do have the same purpose - to sweep up (pick up) riders who have abandoned the race. The images below of the broom wagon are recent pictures my family took at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. All Photos by PedalDancer.com or SyS

If you look back and see this coming - pedal faster.

If it stops for you - your race could be over.

Could you imagine if your bike was the only bike on the wagon trailer - ooh sad.

voiture balai

Keep pedaling!