When we started today’s very hot stage, any water the riders spilled that didn’t immediately evaporate would have eventually flowed into the Mediterranean. Vesoul lies on the Durgeon, a tributary of the Saône, itself a tributary of the Rhône. When we ended the stage at Troyes, water flows via the Seine past Paris and into the English Channel. When we leave Troyes tomorrow en route to Nuits-Saint-Georges, we’ll cross back into the Rhône basin and won’t be back in the Seine watershed until the final day as we head towards Paris. So I’ll take this opportunity to revisit the Seine, the disastrous floods which afflicted it in the early 20th century and some flood control measures that the peloton rode by this afternoon.
The Seine flooded Paris for some 45 days in 1910. This catastrophe caused some 400 million francs worth of damage (about $1.5 billion in 2017). To the Parisians of the early 20th century, something had to be done to prevent such floods from recurring, and that something was clearly a dam. The first dam was put on the Yonne River, forming the lac de Pannecière in 1949, followed by the lac d’Orient in the department of Aube 1966.
To these two lakes were later added the lac du Der-Chantecoq on the Marne and the lacs du Temple et Amance which we passed by in the regional natural park of the Orient Forest. The lac du Temple is named after the Knights Templar who apparently owned land in the area.
These four (because the lacs du Temple et Amance are considered one lake) form “les grands lacs de Seine” and are managed by a regional watershed management body called EPTB Seine (EPTB stands for établissement public territorial de bassin).
A jump into the lakes looked nice on this hot day for the sprinters in Troyes. A solid win by Marcel Kittel, but he’s still got a big deficit on Demare to get into green.