The Tour de France Has a Team Dedicated Exclusively to One Crucial Task: Erasing the Penises Painted on the Roads

No matter how big the penises are, nothing stops this duo from turning them into much more TV-friendly drawings.

The Tour de France has a team dedicated exclusively to something crucial: Erasing the penises painted on the roads
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The Tour de France is one of the most important sporting events of the year. Along with the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Spain (Vuelta a España), the race on French soil is the talk of the town, both for fans and for those who use the occasion to nap. Apart from the athletes and their teams, there is another group who can't afford to rest during these events, which encompass thousands of miles of terrain: the people that organize them.

And within this organization, there’s a small group that has a particular job: to remove penises from the roads. They're called name the Eraser Men.

Fighting virality. Parisian officials are trying to keep the city immaculate before the Olympics. The Games are a massive showcase, but the Tour shows the country from top to bottom, from left to right. It’s even symbolic, so the image it gives off must be immaculate. That’s something that penises can spoil given that they can be seen by millions of viewers. The Romans didn’t think they looked so bad, but every civilization has its customs.

In 2016, the peloton passed over some of these giant members, which led to the creation of the cleanup crew. Since then, we’ve seen many roads with clear evidence of penis censoring, or at least the attempt to censure. In some cases, the crew scribbles over the penis. In others, they try to draw whatever they can so that the penis isn't recognizable.

The Eraser Men. For the past few years, their job has been to go from top to bottom of each stage to ensure that no images of male genitalia appear on television. They’re a team of two male employees from Doublet, a billboard cleaning and installation company contracted by the Tour organizers.

Patrick Dancoisne and Joël Gautriand are in charge. Since the televised penis incident in 2016, they’ve been using their imagination to turn the giant penises into... works of street art? To do so, the duo uses more than 350 liters of paint throughout the competition.

Round trip. This year’s Tour de France is longer than the one last year. Instead of 2,116 miles, it will be 2,170 (3,498 km)—with stages of more than 125 miles. And don’t think that Dancoisne and Gautriand have been scouring the roads for months to censor penises: They do it just before the peloton passes through the area. The reason is obvious: If they erase the dicks beforehand, it's likely that someone would repaint them, turning their work into a waste of time and money.

In an interview with Pèdale!, Dancoisne and Gautriand stated that they go through the route of each stage twice, leaving the site at least 90 minutes before the arrival of the advertising vehicles. On their first run-through, they erase the penises they find and, on the way back, cover the ones that people might have painted during that time. The Dutch outlet NOS captured their work on video

From a huge penis... From a huge penis...
To a shiny spaceship, Or something like that To a shiny spaceship. Or something like that.

Owls and butterflies. The truth is, they’re good at their job. The original drawing isn’t very imaginative, although the duo says they find dicks of all kinds of shapes and sizes. To camouflage them, they use their creativity and turn the penises into butterflies, bears, owls, and even spaceships. The Eraser Men draw anything, as long as they don’t waste too much time and take advantage of the original silhouette.

Sometimes, Dancoisne and Gautriand are in a hurry. In these cases, they carry out a series of scratches or scribble something over the original drawings, and that’s it. The pair can’t get creative on those occasions because erasing the phalluses is a race against the clock.

Apolitical. Of course, the Eraser Men not only censor penises. They also censor political messages and other types of messages. In graffiti of the acronym EPO—a hormone used in doping—they change the O for a Q. The acronym SOS becomes 888—which is a reference to a gambling house—and drawings of syringes—also related to doping—can become ladders. Any other types of political messages also get hit with an eraser.

The folks at Pèdale! accompanied the Eraser Men on a 75-mile stage in 2021. They found 30 messages of support for refugees in the Mediterranean refugee crisis, 18 penises, 12 political messages, and eight syringes. Let's send good vibes to Dancoisne and Gautriand: they're going to need it.

Image | NOS

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