Today’s stage takes us up and down the Col d’Aspin to finish at the Lac de Payolle. This lake is artificial, like many we’ve seen on the way through the Massif Central.
Hydroelectric power development in France began to grow in the postwar era as France’s economy boomed. A good portion of this development took place in the Pyrenées, especially around the Néouvielle massif just south of today’s finish. The Barrage de Cap-de-Long, completed in 1953, is the largest of the dams in the area.
One possibly unintended consequence of the construction of dams in southwestern France has been the opening up of the country to a particular brand of ecotourism (Rodriguez 2012). The Lac de Payolle is a resort and even the Néouvielle massif is now a nature preserve.
An exciting stage for fans of the breakaway today with a great win by Steve Cummings!
- Rodriguez, Jean-François. “Hydropower landscapes and tourism development in the Pyrenees. From natural resource to cultural heritage.” Journal of Alpine Research| Revue de géographie alpine 100-2 (2012).