The organisers of the Tour de France have confirmed that stage 20 of this year’s race to L’Alpe d’Huez will not climb the Col du Telegraphe and the Galibier as planned, due to tunnel damage and a risk of a major landslide.
Cyclingnews reported the expected changes last Saturday, after French media confirmed that the Chabron tunnel on the D1091 road between Grenoble and Briancon, 30km from the foot of L’Alpe d’Huez, is closed due to internal damage. The risk of a 250,000-tonne landslide during the summer meant it was impossible to secure the road and ensure a safe passage of the riders and fans in time for the stage on July 25.
The Chabron tunnel is the only way to L’Alpe d’Huez after the descent of the Galibier. Local residents have reportedly been moved around the tunnel by military barges but the Tour de France will have to find a different way to reach the foot of the final climb of this year’s race.
After talks and a new reconnaissance visit to the Alps, the organizers of the Tour de France opted for a route with the same stage distance of 110.5km. Instead of climbing the Galibier, the peloton will climb the Col de la Croix de Fer from a different side to that climbed the day before on stage 19. The riders will then descend into the Oisans Valley to Bourg-d'Oisans to join the original route and begin the climb to Alpe d'Huez.
As a result of this changes, the Henri Desgrange prize, which rewards the rider who leads the racing at the highest point of the Tour, will be awarded at the Col d'Allos (2,250 m), just prior to the finish of stage 17 at Pra-Loup.
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