The organizers of the Tour de France called upon Bostik, new official partner of the Tour and leading global specialist in smart adhesives, to apply its expertise to enhance the adhesives used on the riders’ race numbers. As a result, they developed a new adhesive that makes it possible to use fabric that is more breathable, lighter and more flexible while ensuring improved hold throughout the race.
WHY THE NEED FOR THIS INNOVATION?
The teams’ jerseys are designed using advanced technology that has greatly progressed over recent years, meaning that the stiff race numbers were no longer able to closely fit the mesh of the increasingly supple jerseys.
Bostik has worked tirelessly over the last year, alongside the Tour’s sports directors, logistics teams and service providers, conducting extensive research and tests on different adhesive polymers. The aim was to develop a more flexible race number that meets the requirements of the Tour (in terms of resistance to wind, rain and sweat), offers greater comfort, is more breathable and is easy to remove at the end of each stage. Tests were carried out during a number of races throughout the year to assess all of these properties and determine the optimum adhesive coverage for race numbers.
Bostik used its hot melt technology platform to develop a solvent-free adhesive that is pressure sensitive, providing maximum effectiveness despite low adhesive coverage.
WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK?
Thierry Gouvenou – Sports Director at ASO:
“The race numbers enable Tour riders to be identified and are hugely important for race officials and commentators, as well as when it comes to classifications (at the finish line and during sprints, for example). We had to make improvements. The partnership with Bostik gave us the idea to ask their engineers to make the race numbers lighter, more comfortable and more visible and to also improve their hold. The adhesive they developed is better adapted to the latest generation of jerseys. Research is ongoing, as jersey materials are constantly evolving. But it’s a huge step forward and we’re really pleased with what has been achieved by Bostik’s engineers, who will continue to build on the work that has already been done.”
Samuel Dumoulin – Rider in the AG2R team:
“The new race numbers stick better. Before, the corners often came unstuck near the pocket where we keep our refreshments. They used to roll up with the wind and sweat and would no longer stick, which doesn’t happen anymore. Because they were quite thick, our body temperature was always higher on that part of our backs. But the new numbers are really thin, making it easier for riders to regulate body temperature. Also, before, we needed around a dozen pins, but now we use just three, and I think that’s only out of habit. Soon we probably won’t use any at all.”
Jérémie Peyras – Business Developer at Bostik:
“The challenge for our R&D teams was to develop an adhesive that was not only effective on the new fabrics, but was also comfortable for the riders and easy to use. We presented various prototypes to the organizers and carried out several tests to find the best possible solution. The solvent-free adhesive we developed uses the most advanced adhesive technology. Nevertheless, it will need to continue to evolve to keep up with the technological progress of cycling jerseys.”
14,652 race numbers are supplied to the Tour de France each year
About Bostik, an Arkema company
Bostik is a leading global adhesive specialist in construction, consumer and industrial markets. For more than a century, it has been developing innovative adhesive solutions that are smarter and more adaptive to the forces that shape daily lives. From cradle to grave, from home to office, Bostik’s smart adhesives can be found everywhere. With annual sales of €1.95 billion, the company employs 6,000 people and has a presence in more than 50 countries. For the latest information, visit www.bostik.com.
A designer of materials and innovative solutions, Arkema shapes materials and creates new uses that accelerate customer performance. Our balanced business portfolio spans high-performance materials, industrial specialties and coating solutions. Our globally recognized brands are ranked among the leaders in the markets we serve. Reporting annual sales of €7.5 billion in 2016, we employ approximately 19,000 people worldwide and operate in close to 50 countries. We are committed to active engagement with all our stakeholders. Our research centers in North America, France and Asia concentrate on advances in bio-based products, new energies, water management, electronic solutions, lightweight materials and design, home efficiency and insulation. For the latest information, visit www.arkema.com.