Lake Verney: what you didn't know...
The TIME Triathlon Alpe d'Huez has not built its reputation on the only mythical ascent of the 21 bends that its participants face on the bike segment. Its swimming course has largely contributed to the legend of the event, which is known for its overall difficulty. Verney's Lake offers an epic scenery and an exceptional conditions for triathletes. Here's why.
If the waters of Verney's Lake are considered cold it is because they come straight from Grand Maison Lake, located at an altitude of 1600m. Indeed, before being the playground of triathletes, Verney's Lake is the "storage tank" of the Grand Maison EDF hydroelectric power plant
: the most powerful pumping station in France (STEP)!
Hydroelectricity is a flexible and reactive energy
, allowing us to cope with peaks in energy consumption. In only 3 minutes, the Grand Maison power plant can produce at full capacity. The water from Grand Maison Lake is turbined during peak hours and then stored in Verney's Lake. When electricity consumption is lower, usually at night or on weekends, the water from the Verney is pumped up to Grand Maison Lake using reversible turbines!
To enable the TIME Triathlon Alpe d'Huez swim to take place and the athletes to evolve in complete safety, EDF is interrupting the power plant's activity during the races. As the water no longer flows back and forth between the two lakes, it can even rise a few degrees! Thus it reached 17°C during the 2018 edition of the Triathlon!
Be careful: Out of this event and due to the activity of the plant, swimming in Lake Verney is strictly prohibited by prefectoral decree.