Ever since there have been smooth enough road surfaces to paint on, cycle racing fans have expressed their devotion to their favoured rider, and many other emotions, by scrawling across the asphalt along the course.
Archive images of the Tour in the fifties and sixties all reveal the hastily applied names of the cycle stars of the time along with words of encouragement, with ‘Allez!’, meaning ‘Go!’ in French, proving a popular early example.
Dutch and German fans are reportedly the biggest culprits these days, which tallies with the passion they show on race day - the Dutch in particular occupying their own corners of race stages and creating a sea of orange, their enthusiasm legendary.
Road graffiti is an opportunity for supporters to make their feelings known above the deafening hysterics of the gathered masses. The climbs are the most popular locations for such a medium of encouragement, because that’s when the riders will notice the words the most, when they are crawling up a mountain with their eyes transfixed on the few feet of road ahead. For the riders, it’s also the time when they appreciate the sentiment the most.