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Col du Galibier Eliminated from Alpe d'Huez Tour Stage

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April landslide brings July regrets

Tom Able-Green/Getty Images

The Tour de France made official today what keen observers had been expecting: the 20th stage will not go via the Col du Galibier before climbing Alpe d'Huez. Here is your new route profile:

2015 stage 20 Tour profile

The issue is that a landslide in April of some 250,000 tons of material had closed the Chambon tunnel along the D1091 road, the only route from the south end of the Galibier to Bourg d'Oisans and the gateway to Alpe d'Huez. The Galibier itself is fine, you just can't get from here to there:

Galibier landslide map

Instead, the race will climb the Col de la Croix de Fer for a second consecutive day, but by a different approach, then bust down the Oisans valley to Bourg d'Oisans and Alpe d'Huez. The Croix de Fer is one valley west of the Galibier route, accessed from St Jean de Maurienne, and from there it's a straight shot to the Alpe. The entire area is an embarrassment of climbing riches, so it's not like the Tour is out of luck. The distance of 110.5km is identical to the original route (seems impossible, but whatever), but the number of meters climbed drops a bit, and the Souvenir Henri Desgranges, given at the high point of the Alps, will now be awarded atop the Col d'Allos (2250 meters), on stage 17.