Tour trivia pt 1
I had never realised this but I guess it makes sense given the laws of physics.
It is said that, during long descents during the alpine stages of the tour, that some riders’ wheel rims become so hot due to the friction of constant braking that two things might happen, both of them very bad.
One is that the rims become so hot that the tyre beads simply roll off the rim during hard cornering, causing an inevitable meeting of unflinching tarmac and malleable skin, with the resulting and in some cases no doubt Biblical venting of both a wailing and a gnashing of teeth; the other is that the tyre simply overheats and explodes, causing an irreversible and most unpleasant drifting of rider and possibly other peloton members into the ether.
It has actually happened on several occasions – most notably during the 1987 Tour, when, on the Col de Burdincurutcheta (try saying that after five pints of real ale), the Belgian rider Henrick de Vos left the road and went over a cliff, falling some sixty feet before coming to an uneasy rest and necessitating a helicopter rescue to treat his fractured skull. Ouch.