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Voiture Balai Centenary
Introduced to the Tour in 1910, the year the race first went into the Mountains, the voiture balai or broom wagon follows the last rider on the road. If the balai catches struggling riders they must climb off and retire, handing in their race numbers. The van literally sweeps the remnants of the peloton off the road. Until 1992 the balai always had an old-fashioned broom strapped to its roof, although rumour has it that a broom can still be found inside the modern balai.
The most iconic voiture balai is the Citroën H Van, which became the broom wagon post World War II. This was then superceded by the Citroën HY in 1958 until Renault took over in the early 1960s. A total of 473,289 were produced between 1947 and 1981 in factories in France and Belgium.
The Rapha H Van
The distinctive corrugated or 'rippled' body work was inspired by Junkers (German Aircraft), these ribs added strength without adding weight. M. Franchiset, who had worked for Citroën since 1922, designed the body. He was the inventor of these lightweight corrugated panels and the pinless "clasp hands" used on the doors. This front-wheel-drive vehicle also features a front sub-frame that carries all the mechanical parts.
Standard production models included the fourgon (van), betaillere ("beast carrier") and plateau (pick up). Customisation of these vans was common, such as camper-vans, fire engines or even mobile laboratoires, such customisation can be seen in the classic vehicles of the Tour caravan.
H Van graphic by Samuel Huddleston
- Last week was a great one for Rapha Condor JLT, all the action and images now up on the team site: http://t.co/ftBejPnnCJ
- RT @alainrumpf: Well done @mike_cuming and @raphacondorjlt winner of #TdK2013 under the scrutiny of latest drone… http://t.co/gv81uP9mHP
- In their attempt to cross the US in 24 days, @michaeltabtabai & Andrew Hudon will ‘Leave It On The Road’. → http://t.co/Per6QsCAtt
- We are delighted to announce the opening of a one-month, pop-up @RaphaCycleClub in Tokyo this summer from 22/6–21/7 → http://t.co/Jrc0EKZ9ky
- Huge congratulations to @raphacondorjlt’s @mike_cuming for winning the @TourdeKorea2013 and to @tomsoutham for best DS. #TdK2013
- @danfromnam in Corsica — outtake from our 2013 Spring/Summer shoot #corsica #beningstagram http://t.co/03A7pT9mtj
- Winner Winner Chicken Dinner ! The most important jersey of #TdK2013 hot off the press. http://t.co/Pflx0eUfdv”
- What a day... The boys keep Mike Cuming in yellow, after having to chase all day. Great performance by all.
- Just rehearsing the whole of Pacino's speech from Any Given Sunday to recite to the boys...
- UK: Thanks to all who came to to tonight’s Rapha Étape Evening in London with @CyclefitUK — one of our biggest turnouts yet.