Tour de France Today in the Dreaded Le Creusot

tourdefrancelecreusotLe Tour de France has been going on for several weeks now and it’s something that I have a hard time following because…it’s boring! Someone reminded me, though, that the Tour will have their Stage 19 today in Le Creusot, which is located in Burgundy. This is the nearest the Tour has come to where I live, but it is still not very close. A timed, abbreviated event of 57 kilometers, today’s route begins in one of my least favorite towns in France: Le Creusot. I absolutely hate it, and frankly wondered why they would take the Tour there in the first place.

I consider Le Creusot an environmental nightmare and have seen and heard too many sad things about it. We went there (remember the creepy fair?) and realized that it is, indeed, an “industrial town” as it’s been described to be, but that’s too nice to describe it as such. The Tour’s site says this about Le Creusot:

“Whether coming in from the forests of Morvan, the grazing pastures of Charolais or the Chalonnais hills, the town makes for a surprising discovery.”

The “surprising discovery” you’ll make is that upon entering the area, your eyes will burn and you’ll inhale noxious gases while feeling the onset of a raging headache. You’re not alone, the 90,000 inhabitants (population of the Le Creusot-Montceau urban spread) get to live with these full time because of: a nuclear power plant, waste incinerator burning 130,000 tons of non-recyclables each year, rubber (tires) recycling plant, plastics manufacturers, landfills, steelworks, and more.

The incinerator was dangerously close to hundreds of housing projects, by the way, and the rate of thyroid cancer (pollution-related cancer) is alarmingly high.

I tried to grab a screen capture of this area on Google Earth but the details aren’t available. And forget about France’s Geoportail. I can’t get it to work on my computer. In any case, I should spare you the ugly details.

July 22nd, 2006 by