Heavy rain hits routes of stages 17, 18, 19, and 20 of Tour de France
Tour de France organisers might be forced into a few last minute route deviations in the coming weeks after the western Pyrénées were hit with heavy rain the caused flash floods which destroyed roads in the areas that the race is due to visit at the end of July.
The départments of Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Hautes-Pyrénées were two of 22 départments to be issued with amber warnings for heavy rain and flooding by national weather agency Météo-France, with the expected bad weather arriving on Monday and Tuesday.
The heavy rain on Tuesday caused flash floods and rivers to rise across the region, with people told to remain vigilant and not to travel unless necessary.
Aside from the immediate effects on residents, the floods and damage could cause headaches to Tour de France organisers ASO, with the race set to visit the region in just over a months time on stages 17, 18, 19, and 20.
The route of stage 19 seems to have been the most affected by the inclement weather, with flooding in Lourdes, which will host the start of the stage, and in the ski resort of Gourette, which is located close to the top of the Col d’Aubisque, the final climb of the stage.
Photos from the are have also shown that roads have been washed away in the town of Argelès-Gazost, which is located 144km into the 201km stage.
With the Tour’s visit to the south-west of France still more than a month away, race organisers ASO have a bit of time to decide whether a diversion will be necessary, as was the case in 2015 when landslides forced amendments to the route in Dieppe and the removal of the Col du Galibier.