Stage 14: Blagnac > Rodez
In the second half of the race, the peloton crosses then follows the Natura 2000 site comprising the Valleys of the Tarn, Aveyron, Viaur, Agout and Gijou (FR7301631).
This site, straddling two biogeographical zones (continental and Atlantic), is made up of the main tributary rivers of the Tarn. These special features, together with its vast area of nearly 17,000 hectares, give this area a wide and rich diversity of habitats and species.
In terms of habitats, the site is the most eastern location of the Pyrenean oak. In the Viaur valley, there are very beautiful old traditional chestnut orchards. Those who manage the forest environments must keep a watchful eye on forest habitats that can be replaced by exotic softwoods.
As regards species, linear streams benefit from Natura 2000 protection because of their potential for migratory fish (sculpin, European brook lamprey).
The Tarn and Aveyron rivers in particular can host Atlantic salmon spawning grounds. As for the Agout and Gijou, they shelter the otter and the pearl mussel.
All of these species are sensitive to water quality (pollutants, oxygenation), which must be closely monitored to, at least, maintain the current state of conservation or even improve it.