L’Ardoisière sounds much better in French than English and translates as “Blackboard Woman”. For years time gaps in bike races have been communicated by the simple use of chalk on a blackboard held up to the riders from a motorbike.
In recent years the motorbike’s been less important with the use of radio radios but it’s remained a useful publicity vehicle.
Now the blackboard is going away and Paris-Nice this weekend will see an electronic display used on the back of a motorbike. It’s already been tested in the Tour of Portugal and the system is designed by Portuguese firm Full Sport.