Axalta coats monument to winners of the Tour de France

22 July 2015

Axalta Coating Systems, one of the leading global suppliers of liquid and powder coatings, has provided the coating for an impressive monument erected by the town of Pau, France, to honour the Tour de France and its history. Pau, the capital of Béarn on the northern edge of the Pyrenees, has been a stage town of the Tour a staggering 66 times. This year will mark its 67th time as a key stage of the Tour.

The impressive and permanent monument has been built in the heart of the city, in the Bois-Louis park. It comprises 104 two-metre high totems, in the form of a circle, reminiscent of the historic Stonehenge monument in Wiltshire, England. Three of the totems are made of bronze and are uncoated – the presentation piece and a pair dedicated to the two World Wars – while the other one hundred and one totems have been cast from aluminium and glass and are dedicated to the winners of the Tour. To reproduce the legendary yellow jersey of the champions, the totems have been painted with Alesta® powder coating RAL 1018 Yellow Zinc, "the yellow of cheerfulness, the yellow of victory”, according to François Bayrou, the Mayor of Pau.

The primer and powder coating were supplied by Axalta and applied by its customer Job Coater, Sedam, who was commissioned to paint 111 totems in total: 101 for the current installation to represent the champions of the Tour, and 10 more for the future winners. A new totem will be added to the monument each year.

Alesta ZeroZinc primer was used for the pre-treatment of the substrate. This innovative next generation of zinc-free anticorrosion primer from Axalta offers excellent adhesion and degassing properties and is ideal for improving the finish on irregular substrates. Axalta powder coating RAL 1018 Zinc Yellow from the Alesta Fine Textured collection was then applied to provide the iconic yellow. This powder coating has fast curing properties, which was very useful for these large pieces and its textured finish hides small surface defects to perfection. It has a fine matte effect finish to help to beautify the substrate and to provide an excellent scratch resistance. It is also highly compatible with Alesta ZeroZinc primer.

Renaud Walther, Axalta Regional Sales Head for Southern France, says: "As with any project of this scale, the deadlines were tight and extensive colour tests were conducted. Thanks to the comprehensive range we had in stock, we were able to provide the Town Hall of Pau with several proposals at short notice.”

Sébastien Condamine, Research and Planning Manager for Sedam, points out: "Mr Walther came to our facility and gave us advice on the desired temperatures and cycle times to obtain the perfect curing for both powder coatings, ZeroZinc Antigassing and RAL 1018. This close collaboration with Axalta enabled us to handle this project under the best conditions and to meet the expectations of the town of Pau. This is a fantastic showcase for us as we hope cycle enthusiasts from all around the world will come and see the monument.”

Before they were painted, the first totems were unveiled on May 4, 2015 by the Mayor of Pau, in the presence of Bernard Hinault, five-time winner of the Tour de France. Each totem features the name and photo of the winner of the year, as well as the number of kilometres achieved, some drawings and a witty caption.

The 2015 Tour de France is taking place from 4 to 26 July; the opening ceremony of the Giants of the Tour site took place on July 13, 2015, rest day on the Tour.

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