We've been waiting for today since back in October. Alpe d'Huez, while not nearly the most difficult mountain, is an iconic stage of each Tour in which it is included. This year it it was the final climb and the stage was thrilling.
Yesterday, Andy Schleck of Leopard - Trek took off with 60 km to go in the stage in the Tour which in recent times has become a wait-and-pounce strategy. Today, Alberto Contador of Saxo Bank Sungard charged out with 60 MILES to go in the stage, making up a bit of critical time. It will all ride on the individual time trial tomorrow to define this year's winner.
But we've been behind Andy Schleck for the whole tour and today he caught enough time to put on the Yellow Jersey. We'll see if it gives him wings on the time trial.
Pierre Rolland of Team Europcar, who has worked for the past 10 days in support of Thomas Voeckler's defense of the Yellow Jersey, was set free to ride and ride he did winning his first stage in the Tour and this year's first stage for the French. There was a deafening cheer when he cross the finish line and it was even louder as Thomas Voeckler crossed nearly 4 minutes later. Voeckler has done an heroic job defending the Yellow. Rolland's stage win has moved him into 10th place on the Tour.
Ben Kiel of House Industries joined Virginia Green from Baylor University with us for this poster.
We love letterpress because of your ability to make changes during the process and that was so useful on our work on this poster. Some wonderful elements to the poster are Rolland beginning in 'Roll' (a kind of nice bike term for the winner) and ending in 'and' allows us to print the word in red and blue to celebrate the French win. Adding a yellow 'y' to the end give us the chance to highlight the two big winners today. We wanted to tip our ink roller to Thomas Voeckler's 10 days in the yellow.
We had those hairpin curves made when were were having the Clarendon wood type made expecially for Alpe d'Huez to celebrate its 21 hairpin curves. We threw in that hand for Alberto Contador's incredible ride today. He is nicknamed 'The pistol' as he draws and shoots a pistol with his fingers at the finish line when he wins a stage. This was as close as we could come to representing that. The final element added was the three blue triangles at the bottom which nicely completed the piece. After we had printed two without it we were all standing around the Universal III saying it needed one more thing. Virginia came up with the idea and Jill came up with the metal type. Sweet.
One more small piece of information is that the temperature was 103 today and we have a studio without air conditioning. We felt like we were part of the Tour de France, for sure.
Special thanks to one of my favorite former students, Howie Ronay, who rode Alpe d'Huez giving me a great story to tell dozens of times.