Extensive flash flooding in the Pyrenees could potentially threaten some of the Tour de France route when the race visits the region in just over two weeks time.

Heavy rain and melting snowfall over the last few days has caused devastating damage in South West France weeks before the arrival of the Tour. In some of the worst hit areas, roads have collapsed or been completely submerged underwater.

Stages eight and nine of the Tour are scheduled to pass through the Pyrenees on July 6 and 7. Reports say some of the areas along the stage nine route, including Bagneres de Luchon, and Saint Beat, have been badly damaged by the floodwater.

Kate Potter lives in St Mamet de Luchon, where stage nine of the Tour is due to visit, and runs AQR Holidays. She spoke of the damage after flooding hit on Tuesday morning. “By midday people were being evacuated 50m from our house. The area became an island and lower lying houses and campsites were taken over by water,” she said.

“There has been a massive land slide off the Superbagneres which has destroyed part of the Superbagneres road towards Valley de Lys.”

However ASO, who organise the Tour, have not yet indicated the route will need to be altered. They said: “At this time, ASO will let local authorities see what, if some measures are necessary to take. We will wait for their recommendations.”

Some roads have had sections completely washed away. Picture from www.velopeloton.com

The town of Luz Saint Sauveur at the bottom of the Tourmalet has been badly effected. Picture from www.velopeloton.com

Lourdes low lying town centre is completely submerged. Picture from www.velopeloton.com

The entry to the Gorge de Luz. Picture from www.velopeloton.com

Surveying the damage in the town of Argeles Gazost. Picture from www.velopeloton.com

The start of the climb of the Tourmalet from Luz Saint Sauveur. Picture from www.velopeloton.com

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  • Robert Morgan

    Here’s a link to a YouTube video I took at the height of the flood in St Beat.

    Stage 9 on July 7th was due to come along the road you can’t see between the trees of my garden in the foreground and the houses opposite


  • Mike Jones

    Good morning, I actually live in Bagneres de Luchon and have extensively surveyed the damage in the town in my role as a councillor. During the height of the storms and the flash flooding our main river (the Pique) had burst its banks causing significant flooding in the immediate area of the river, extending into low laying areas in and around the town. Villages on the outside of Luchon were particularly badly hit, St Mamet had a large number of people evacuated with homes and restaurants being inundated with water and mud.

    24 hours on there is a clearer picture of the legacy of the storm. Bagneres de Luchon has been relatively lucky compared to other areas and though there is a significant amount of flood damage to homes near the river, most of our roads and bridges remained intact. A massive clear up operation is under-way, with large areas of the town already cleared. Areas outside of Luchon have suffered worse and will be out of action for a long time, but this would not impact on the Tour in our area.

    The town of St Beat that sits at the foot of the Col du Mente was underwater, as the Garonne burst its banks. At the moment there priority is to clear the main roads as this is a key link into Spain – Francois Hollande the President of France visited St Beat yesterday afternoon committing the states support to aid in the clear up and recovery.

    To the west of the Col du Tourmalet the route between Lourdes and Bareges has been devastated, however the Tour route misses this area this year.

    We will be ready for the Tour. The Maire of Luchon has already spoken to Christian Prudholm to reassure him of our commitment to this years route.

    For organisations requiring more information please contact me at m.jones@mairie-luchon.fr

  • Hill Special

    Wow – cycling here in August? Might have to do the Dordogen and Lot instead if it keep ups?