Tour de Lead Graffiti 2013
S T A G E 1 3 :
Tours > Saint-Amand-Montrond / 173 km
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The devil lives in the crosswinds
. . .
Start time today : 6:41 am
Completed : 9:05 pm
Time today : 15 hours 24 minutes
Time to date: 219 hours 5 minutes
Printing sequence : 4 runs - handrolled wind and Yellow Jersey "O" in four colors, yellow "PELOTON", green "CaXXVendish", and finish line / team name
Runs to date : 65
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The day's story
We were sitting here with Jess and Jeannie, our two collaborators for the day, and were close to apologizing to them for how boring the day was probably going to be until the last 60 seconds of the final sprint.
...on some of the long flat stages across France, the winds are sometimes perpendicular to much of the stage route and there is little to block them (in West Texas they say there's nothing between you and the wind but a barbed wire fence, and that's down). You can see the effect it has on the riders by looking at the shape of the peloton. In a crosswind area, the cyclists ride in what's called an echelon, similar to a stairstep shape. The riders out front and on the windward side are breaking the wind for the riders immediately behind and to their side, and so on down the line. If you are protected by riders in front of you (the basic Nascar slipstream effect), you will likely spend 30% less energy to achieve the same result. So, the riders in the front who are working together regularly switch around so as to spread that effort around.One of the strategies that can then be exploited in this situation is that if the team who is at the front can go at it harder, the main peloton stretches out in a longer and thinner line which can be more easily broken apart.
Now all the riders are aware of this, but the trick is to be paying attention at the moment the breaks occur in order to not be suddenly cut off from the rider in front of you. Remember, to ride against the wind alone or with a smaller, weaker group forces a rider to use up his reserves. To complicate things even more, halfway through a stage, your legs are probably starting to lose some of their endurance. Omega Pharma-Quick Step, the team of sprinter Mark Cavendish, had been in the front and running at a pretty serious clip. All of a sudden the peloton, which was strung out for a couple hundred meters, was hit by a strong crosswind and broke in half. Now the riders in the second group have to work harder to catch up. Sometime in here, the rider who was currently in second place had a flat tire which caused him to lag about 60 seconds behind. He would go on to lose more than 8 minutes in the ensuing chaos of the crosswinds.
The front group now only includes sprinters Cavendish and Sagan, race leader Froome and about 5 others who are in the top 10 in the current standings for the Yellow Jersey.
The crosswinds cause the following group to split again, which isolates Kittel and Greipel, the other two major sprinters, even farther back from those in the front group.
Then Saxo-Tinkoff, the team of former Tour winner Alberto Contador who is currently in 3rd place for the Yellow, took over leading the front group, which has two possible positive consequences for Contador. First is to distance Contador from the rider in 2nd place and second, hopefully to split this group and leave Froome in the hind portion of it (giving Contador a chance to make up time against Froome). Their speed in pulling that first group out into a longer line caused both of those things to happen.
Over a matter of only a few seconds, a gap opened between the now split first group and there was nothing Froome could do about it. Froome's team Sky is now looking a lot more vulnerable and there was only one other member keeping up.
By the end of the stage, Contador gained more than a minute on Froome, took over 2nd place for the Yellow Jersey (and closer to 1st), and gave everyone the idea the Froome's position at the top of the podium in Paris wasn't a done deal after all.
Mark Cavendish was alert, lucklily, and managed to stay in the front group after every split. At the finish line he sprinted for the win, his 25th Tour stage total and the most ever sprint wins by anyone. In the poster, we took advantage of the V in Cavendish's name to use Roman numerals to illustrate this milestone. There are now only two people who have more stage wins, with the record holder, Eddie Merkyx, having 34.
Wow. So the flatland stage that was destined to be boring became at least one of the top two exciting stages so far.
Tonight I'm going to come back and write more about the poster itself. When we started this year's project we had said we wanted the posters to have more narrative to them. This one has that and we'd like to explain that a bit more.
Signatures: Ray Nichols, Jill Cypher, Tray Nichols, Jeannie Marcotte Wagner, & Jessica Koman
Size: 14.5" x 22.5"
Stock: Somerset Textured White 300 gsm
Main typography: Bernhard gothic Medium & Impact (wood), Caslon & Euro (metal)
Production notes: handset wood & metal type. The stage / signature block / profile was preprinted using photopolymer plates.
Press: Vandercook Universal III
Ray, Tray, and designers Jess and Jeannie rough in the general layout to see how it fit. It was a bit tricky trying to make the "wind" visually force apart the "peloton."
Tray, our clean hands paper handler, looks on as Jess, Jill and Jeannie were handrolling with 3 colors.
A close-up of the handrolling and the lockup. Ray chimed in with the yellow highlight roller to show Froome's position.
The lockup of the 3 "winds" with the Yellow Jersey O which was isolated by Contador's wily team and trapped in the second group.
Locking up the "peloton," which was eventually broken into four groups by the wind and the fast pacemaking by the leaders during the stage.
Printing Cavendish's 25th stage win. With four fans directed toward the press to keep us as cool as possible on a 95 degree day, we are fighting the crosswinds ourselves. It's tiring catching the prints and we sympathize with the cyclists right down to the finish line.
The lockup of "peloton"minus Froome's yellow O, which we printed earlier.