France and western Europe were Tuesday bracing for a new record-breaking heatwave that is forcing the temporary shutdown of a French nuclear power station and will test competitors in the legendary Tour de France cycle race.

Forecasters predicted new temperature highs in a string of countries, including Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where the mercury is set to reach 40° Celsius for the first time on Thursday.

The same day could also see the all-time record temperature for the French capital Paris—40.4° Celsius in 1947—beaten.

And as the Tour de France reached its final week in the southeast of the country, ice foot baths and extra water points were on hand to avoid dehydration.

“In the third week of the Tour de France, I think heat like this could make the difference," said Davide Bramati, head of sport for team Deceuninck, whose cyclist Julian Alaphilippe is currently leading the world-famous race.

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