Cycling: Falling rocks force change of Tour de France route
The risk of falling rocks on a climb of the race's 15th stage has prompted Tour de France organisers into a late change.
PARIS, April 10, 2008 - The risk of falling rocks on a climb of the race's 15th stage has prompted Tour de France organisers into a late change of the 2008 race route, a statement said Thursday.
It means the 15th stage, initially set to start in Digne-Les-Bains and
finish at Prato Nevoso, Italy, will now start in Embrun because of the "fairly
important risk of falling rocks on the climb up the Col de Larche".
The Col de Larche, whose altitude is 1948 metres, has now been replaced on
stage 15 with the Col d'Agnel, whose altitude is 2744. The route change has
also forced the reduction in length of the stage from 216km to 185.
Tour organisers made the decision after speaking to local authorities, and
after speaking to the relevant departmental authorities have now modified the
The statement added: "The risk of falling rocks on about four kilometres of
the course was known for several months and all the parties concerned were
trying to find a solution.
"Unfortunately, three months before the start of the Tour, the work
considered could not guarantee the necessary security for the passage of the
race, and based on the time necessary for the study of a new course, it was
decided to change the itinerary."
Embrun will also play host to the start of the race's fifth and final day
of racing in the high mountains, the 17th stage to the legendary Alpe d'Huez.