March 4, 2021

The Climate Change Tour

The day after the record of temperatures recorded in France was broken, the Tour was forced to suspend part of its last-to-last stage due to a hail storm that flooded the road and made it impracticable for cycling.

This is an unprecedented event in a race that celebrates its 106th edition, but a decision that everyone accepted once they saw the images of snow plows trying to remove hail and water from the road in Val d'Isere. The decision was known a few minutes after the runners passed through the top of Iseran, the roof of the edition, crowned the high by the Colombian Egan Bernal, which had been launched in a fast-paced descent so as not to yield the income achieved in the port .

At that point the commissioners decided to stop the chronometers and, although they did not proclaim the Colombian winner of the stage, they did count the times for the general, which was worth it to wear yellow. But neither he nor his persecutors had that information, so they went on their hunt, to recover the minute given at the summit by Geraint Thomas and Steven Krujswijk and the two of the leader, the Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe, who saw losing a reign that It has lasted 14 days.

The organizers stopped the descent that was heading towards a skating rink and decided that the times were taken at the top of Iseran, although they did not declare any stage winner. "I couldn't believe it, I didn't want to stop," said the Colombian, who only regained his smile when the test director, Christian Prudhomme, told him it would be the new yellow jersey.

The Colombian asked to be told in Spanish, because although he lives in an English team and speaks that language well, his ears could not believe what they were hearing. "They are so focused on victory that they don't realize the risks, that's why they didn't want to stop and that's why it was important that we stop the race as soon as possible," said Prudhomme.

Fifty kilometers of hail and two floods of mud, described the test director, who said that when they showed the runners the images of the weather, everyone understood the decision. In addition to the flood, two mudflows interrupted the road. "I was impracticable, when the elements are put against you there is nothing to do," said the test director.

For kilometers, those responsible for the race stubbornly stopped some cyclists who refused to slow down the rapid descent to Tignes. Something like this had never happened before. The Tour has seen how in the past the weather has forced to relinquish part of its routes, but never during the course of a stage due to a storm.

The guardians of history dusted their annals to remember that in 1992 a time trial was stopped during its course. The reason was a cyclist strike, unhappy with the long transfers and late endings that hardened their conditions. A few minutes after starting to launch the cyclists, they set foot on the ground, so the stage had to be suspended.

On several occasions, the weather has forced to subtract kilometers to stages, but never during the course of a race. In the memory is the stage of Mont Ventoux of 2016, when due to the strong wind registered in the goal the organizers gave up taking the goal to the summit. The snow has also caused many stages to be cut, but today will be remembered because of the circumstances in which it took place. (Efe).

. (tagsToTranslate) tour de france

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