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Tour de France: Cyclists to Face Storms Before Returning to Paris

Thunderstorms will rumble daily around the French Alps into Saturday, creating hazards for cyclists before the Tour de France heads to Paris for Sunday's finale.

Cyclists will spend Thursday into Saturday completing strenuous stages in the French Alps. Unfortunately, the mountainous terrain will serve as the breeding ground for thunderstorms to erupt daily.

Most of the thunderstorms will rumble during the late morning and afternoon hours. Friday will likely prove to be the most active day, when the concern for heavy thunderstorms to drop flooding downpours is being monitored.

While the rain threatens to slow the cyclists, it is the lightning that poses the greatest danger.

As soon as thunder is heard, the threat of being struck by lightning is present even if someone is riding a bicycle.

"Some people may think that the rubber tires on a car help to protect a driver and occupants from a lightning strike, but this is a myth," stated AccuWeather Staff Writer Mark Leberfinger. The same can be said for bicycles.

"It is what's sitting on top of the tires that makes the difference," Leberfinger added.

As Leberfinger explains, the metal frame of a car will direct the lightning strike around the outside of the vehicle and to the ground, much like a lightning rod.

Without any metal enclosure, cyclists are just at risk of being struck by lightning as anyone standing outside in the open.

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The one advantage to the storminess is that the intense heat the cyclists endured during the other stages across southern France will be absent.

Excitement will build but not heat when cyclists return to Paris on Sunday. Instead, a shower could dampen the finale of the Tour de France with highs being held to the lower 20s C (lower 70s F).