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When the first leg of this year's Tour de France takes off from Noirmoutier-en-l’Île in northwestern France on Saturday, July 7, competitors, spectators and the media will be baking under strong sunshine and high heat.
"Temperatures for the first week of the Tour will be around 30 C (the mid-80s F), which is about 10-15 C above normal," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
While the race lasts for over three weeks and includes "cobbles, punchy arrivals, sprints, dust roads, high mountains, an explosive 65-kilometre race through the Pyrenees [and] a hilly time trial on the penultimate day," the first two days of the event are flat with little protection from the sun.
However, according to cyclingstate.com, "much of the route follows the twisting Vendée coastline, so cross winds could be lurking during the entire day." This threat will be downplayed this year as high pressure continues to engulf western Europe.
"Winds will be extremely light from the east generally, so there is no threat of a sea breeze," Roys said.
This area of high pressure is expected to remain entrenched over the area through at least early next week, promoting widespread calm wind, sunshine and warmth.
On Sunday, Stage 2 will therefore be greeted by nearly identical weather conditions as the day before. Plenty of sunshine, a lack of wind and unseasonably warm weather will persist as the course continues to include gently rolling hills.
Warm, dry and sunny weather will continue for Stage 3 and Stage 4 early next week across northwest France.
A calm and dry forecast is ideal for this event, but competitors will need to take proper precautions against suffering a heat-related illness. A relatively flat route means a fast race with plenty of sprinting, heightening the threat of overexertion in the hot weather.
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