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Chris Froome and other stars of sport to take on 1.8km long tunnel, built at a cost of €282m

The opening stage of this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, an individual time trial, will feature as part of its route a 1.8km long pedestrian and cycle tunnel in the city of Lyon.

Opened last December, it may be Europe’s longest such facility. The Combe Down tunnel in Bath is 1.7km in length – although while that is solely for those on foot or on a bike, the French one does accommodate a bus lane too.

Officially known as the Tunnel de la Croix-Rousse, the tunnel is located beneath the hill of the same name in the city’s 4th arrondissement, to the north of the city centre, and links the banks of the Rhône to the east with those of the Saône to the west.

Costing €282.8 million, the tunnel, which also goes by the nickname Le Tube, is 10 metres in width and accommodates a bus lane, segregated by a barrier from the adjacent pedestrian path, alongside which runs the cycle lane.

It runs parallel to an existing road tunnel, with the city exploiting works that had to be undertaken to upgrade it to conform with the latest security standards for such infrastructure to build the new route.

Interior design, which includes still images and moving graphics, was undertaken by the design agency Skertsö. You can see some pictures from the opening of the tunnel on 5 December here.

One critcism of the tunnel is that some of the buses using it still run on diesel, although the city points out that it is currently undertaking a trial of four different types of hybrid bus with a view to deciding which to choose.

The two videos below show the tunnel, respectively, from a pedestrian’s and a cyclist's perspective – both were shot in the days following the opening in early December.

The idea is that those on foot stick keep to the centre of the tunnel, while those on bikes are to one side on the two-way cycle track – that’s not quite how it works out in the second video, although perhaps that’s just down to the novelty of it having just opened?

The 2014 Critérium du Dauphiné starts in Lyon on Sunday 8 June with that 10-kilometre individual time trial that includes the tunnel, and concludes on Saturday 15 June at the Alpine resort of Courchevel.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

20 comments

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 1 year ago
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Wonder how well the video of the race will work from inside? But pretty darn cool

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American tifosi [38 posts] 1 year ago
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Looks like rave nightclub.  21

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Nick T [913 posts] 1 year ago
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jarredscycling wrote:

Wonder how well the video of the race will work from inside? But pretty darn cool

That chopper pilot who nearly blew the peloton over in the Giro would have a crack at following them in, I reckon.

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geargrinderbeard [89 posts] 1 year ago
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This is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. It's like putting a bike lane through the tate modern with all the people milling about in the bike lane...

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Redvee [195 posts] 1 year ago
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Nick T wrote:
jarredscycling wrote:

Wonder how well the video of the race will work from inside? But pretty darn cool

That chopper pilot who nearly blew the peloton over in the Giro would have a crack at following them in, I reckon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cho039BrHpg

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bikebot [1634 posts] 1 year ago
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geargrinderbeard wrote:

This is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. It's like putting a bike lane through the tate modern with all the people milling about in the bike lane...

Aye, but on the plus side, if you've got an airzound horn the reverb should be amazing  19

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Ush [591 posts] 1 year ago
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Another narrow, uncomfortable piece of segregation for cyclists. Why anyone thinks that a lane so narrow that only a single cyclist (who is not swerving to avoid debris) is acceptable I just don't understand.

I do not want to be penned and hemmed into a tiny space as demonstrated in the above. I want to be able to ride two abreast with my mates, talking easily and having plenty of space to drop back if someone wants to overtake even if there's oncoming traffic.

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Gambi [1 post] 1 year ago
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I ride this tunnel 2 to 4 times a day and I must say from a good idea at first, this has became very annoying.
This is very dark, you can't see pedestrians ( who are occasionally walking on the cycle path ) and the other bicyclists with no lights. In fact you can't see anything but the fancy animations.

This is narrow, I mean very narrow, you can't possibly overtake someone with another cyclist in the opposite way without putting yourself and the others in danger, plus, there is a small height difference between the cycle path and the sidewalk (about 4cm) and when you are not seeing the road very well, this is hazardous.

If the race officials care about the life of the pros, they will use the bus lane  1

And in 2 month I've never seen any bus running on electricity. And I don't even talk about all the service cars using the bus lane...

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oozaveared [933 posts] 1 year ago
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Ush wrote:

Another narrow, uncomfortable piece of segregation for cyclists. Why anyone thinks that a lane so narrow that only a single cyclist (who is not swerving to avoid debris) is acceptable I just don't understand.

I do not want to be penned and hemmed into a tiny space as demonstrated in the above. I want to be able to ride two abreast with my mates, talking easily and having plenty of space to drop back if someone wants to overtake even if there's oncoming traffic.

Yeah but this is a tunnel, Don't want to be hemmed in? Stay out of the the tunnel. You know what? I expect the tunnel under the very big hill is there because the alternative is to cycle over the hill. A challenge for some but an issue for others that just want to ride across town to work.

I expect all those drivers using the Dartford Tunnel in the morning would prefer to be driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible, the wind in their hair and the Pacific Ocean for a view. But if you want to get from one side of the river to the other then being hemmed in to a tunnel is the prive you pay.

Mrs. Richards: And another thing. I booked a room with a view.
Basil: [quietly to Manuel] Deaf, mad and blind. [Goes to the window] Yes, this is the view as I remember it, yes, yes, this is it.
Mrs. Richards: When I pay for a room with a view, I expect something more interesting than that.
Basil: That is Torquay madam.
Mrs. Richards: Well it's not good enough.
Basil: Well, may I ask what you expected to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically...?
Mrs. Richards: Don't be silly. I expect to be able to see the sea.
Basil: You can see the sea. It's over there between the land and the sky.
Mrs. Richards: I'd need a telescope to see that.
Basil: Well, then, may I suggest you move to a hotel nearer the sea? [mutters] Or preferably in it.
Mrs Richards: Now listen to me. I am not satisfied. However, I have decided to stay. But I shall expect a reduction.
Basil: Why, because Krakatoa's not erupting at the moment?

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chaos [19 posts] 1 year ago
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If this is meant to be cycling heaven I would rather go to hell.
Replace the bike lane with a car lane. Put the pedestrians in the buses. Show me the open empty road over the hill and let me cycle over the hill.

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chaos [19 posts] 1 year ago
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If this is meant to be cycling heaven I would rather go to hell.
Replace the bike lane with a car lane. Put the pedestrians in the buses. Show me the open empty road over the hill and let me cycle over the hill.

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Ush [591 posts] 1 year ago
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oozaveared wrote:

Yeah but this is a tunnel, Don't want to be hemmed in? Stay out of the the tunnel. You know what? I expect the tunnel under the very big hill is there because the alternative is to cycle over the hill. A challenge for some but an issue for others that just want to ride across town to work.

Ah... I see you suffer from tunnel vision. There are alternatives. Namely removing the pedestrian path in order to widen the bike path to a safe, comfortable width.

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oozaveared [933 posts] 1 year ago
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Ush wrote:
oozaveared wrote:

Yeah but this is a tunnel, Don't want to be hemmed in? Stay out of the the tunnel. You know what? I expect the tunnel under the very big hill is there because the alternative is to cycle over the hill. A challenge for some but an issue for others that just want to ride across town to work.

Ah... I see you suffer from tunnel vision. There are alternatives. Namely removing the pedestrian path in order to widen the bike path to a safe, comfortable width.

One of the drawbacks of insisting that there's no room for both bikes and pedestrians may not be that pedestrians are excluded and the bike lane widened. It might be that cyclists are excluded and pedestrians get a nice wide path and don't have to put up with cyclists whizzing by.

All or nothing is rarely a good position to adopt. There's a strident pedestrian iut there right now wanting cyclists off "their" path.

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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I'd imagine riding it on the commute every day would be a monumental ball ache but as a relatively gentle trundle when you have had a session, freewheeling your way through whilst tripping out to the animations would be heaps and heaps of fun.

I know one poster above uses it and has mither but I reckon it's probably less mither than most "shared paths" we have here, mainly due to the laid back European approach to cycling and walking being slightly different to "KILLALLTHECYCLISTSUNTILTHEYAREDEADBYDEATH" attitude that prevails over here.

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ChancerOnABike [23 posts] 1 year ago
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Does show how the pools of pi$$ will be avoided like in Toulouse where I live  102

The tyre tracks are from my 3yo son as i realised too late from the stench that they hadn't washed the street down today

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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You really can't complain about the smell of piss if you live somewhere called Toulouse.

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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You really can't complain about the smell of piss if you live somewhere called Toulouse.

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Ush [591 posts] 1 year ago
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oozaveared wrote:

All or nothing is rarely a good position to adopt. There's a strident pedestrian iut there right now wanting cyclists off "their" path.

There are other options. The "all or nothing" position is the one that you've taken. Namely that this is what you're getting and there's no improving or criticizing it.

Other possibilities include: putting one-way cycle tracks on each side. Putting a 15mph speed limit in the tunnel and having the cyclists share the road surface with buses. Making a wider tunnel so that we don't have unpleasant designs like the above.

I'm sure you're capable of thinking of several others.

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MKultra [394 posts] 1 year ago
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Ush wrote:

Another narrow, uncomfortable piece of segregation for cyclists. Why anyone thinks that a lane so narrow that only a single cyclist (who is not swerving to avoid debris) is acceptable I just don't understand.

I do not want to be penned and hemmed into a tiny space as demonstrated in the above. I want to be able to ride two abreast with my mates, talking easily and having plenty of space to drop back if someone wants to overtake even if there's oncoming traffic.

I would imagine it will be pretty much debri free as the French never privatized public services and do in fact clean the streets and would most certainly clean the tunnel every day if it's a major new tourist attraction.

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skippy [408 posts] 1 year ago
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Seems they have solved the problem of Dwindling Spectators ?

Recall the 2002 start being very well attended , but in recent years i have seen far smaller numbers at Depart & Arrivee ? It could be that people are reluctant to travel when the TV is at hand ? Wonder if the French are also suffering from growing waistlines ?

Guess Oz will not get the Brad Mc Gee & Baden Cooke result this time around ? Still have a copy of the backpage of the Dauphine talking of that other Aussie , " grey beard "!