The risk of a massive landslide and damage to a key tunnel is almost certain to force the Tour de France organisers to cut the Col du Telegraphe and the Col du Galibier from this year’s race route.
The 2645m high Galibier –the highest planned for this year’s Tour and the Col du Telegraphe that leads to the Galibier, feature on stage 20, with the short but intense 110km stage sheduled to start in Modane and end atop L’Alpe d’Huez. It is the last mountain stage before the transfer to Paris for the final parade stage on the French capital.
However according to reports in L’Equipe and local France Bleu radio station website, the Chabron tunnel on the D1091 road between Grenoble and Briancon, 30km from the foot of L’Alpe d’Huez is closed due to damage to a tunnel. The risk of a 250,000 tonnes landslide during the summer means it will be impossible to secure the road and ensure a safe passage of the riders and fans in time for the stage on July 25.
“The stage isn’t at risk and the Tour de France stage will finish at L’Alpe d’Huez but via which way is not yet clear,” Jean-Pierre Barbier, the head of the L’Isere council told L’Equipe.
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.
Tour de France organiser ASO has yet to confirm any change in the stage route but the modified stage is expected to spend more time in the Maurienne valley and then climb either the Col di Glandon or the Col de la Croix-de-Fer. Both climbs are due to be climbed on stages 18 and 19 of this year’s race. Both climbs are long Hors Category climbs but are shorter than the combined climbs of the Col du Telegraphe and the Col du Galibier.
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