Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Potential for Weather Mischief in the Tour de France

Doping or no doping, the Tour de France is one of the most grueling and punishing sporting events in the world.  Today's time trial is currently underway as I write this, but it is likely that Chris Froome will have a multi-minute lead heading into tomorrow's stage, which looks to be a real sufferfest.  The riders will navigate 172.5 km and six categorized climbs, including two "hors cat√©gorie" (beyond category) climbs up the punishing Alpe D'Huez.

Froome has looked unconquerable thus far, but as the saying goes, it ain't over until it's over.  A bad day or a crash can doom anyone, and there are always wildcards in cycling.  Tomorrow's wildcard could be the weather.  The Alps are presently under the influence of a weak trough, and the models call for showers and thunderstorms to develop over the region during tomorrow's stage.

Wet, slick roads could make already harrowing descents even worse.  Tomorrow's stage was already must see TV, but it will be very interesting how things play out if the weather turns nasty.

Addendum @ 5:00 pm: 

More on this at Velonews.

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