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Extreme weather could cause major Tour de France route change

Joe Robinson
13 Jun 2018

Heavy rain and landslides across the Pyrenees as record rainfall experienced in last 24 hours

With just a month before the start of the Tour de France, extreme weather in the Pyrenees could prompt a potential change of course in the high mountains.

A spate of heavy rain across the southern band of France has seen in excess of 100mm in 24 hours, causing mass flooding and small landslides throughout the region.

The area surrounding the city of Pau has been affected most with major flooding of motorways and smaller roads.

This has caused substantial damage to some roads while also causing debris to litter other roads. In one extreme case, a bridge has also collapsed due to the excessive volumes of water. 

Images from Meteo Pyrenees, a voluntary weather group from the area, show the extent of damage in the last day.

The Tour is set to head to this exact area of France in just over a month's time with stage finishes in Pau, and a hard mountain stage into Laruns via the Col d'Aspin and Col du Tourmalet.  

If the damage left by the adverse weather is substantial there is the chance that the Tour will have to take evasive action to avoid affected roads and areas. 

The Pyrenean mountains are set to be the final battleground of this year's race, falling in the final week and including an explosive 65km stage to the Col du Portet and a 31km individual time trial to Espelette.

Cyclist contacted ASO as to whether it had a contingency plan in place for this adverse weather but were unable to comment.

The Tour de France has dealt with adverse weather and route changes in recent years. As recently as 2015, ASO was forced to scrap an ascent of the Col du Galibier on the penultimate stage due to extensive rockfall and landslide on the climb.

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