A guide to the Tour de France
Stage 20 of the Tour de France 2018 is the only individual time trial on the 2018 edition. This race against the clock in the Basque country, from Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette, isn't at all flat, so if the podium places are still to be decided, any time trialists and climbers within range could stake their claims. Read about Stage 20 of the Tour de France 2018 here.
Tom Dumoulin won the stage, and Geraint Thomas maintained his place at the top of the GC standings and is set to win the Tour de France. These are the video highlights of Stage 20:
|Stage classification||Individual time trial|
|Intermediate time check points||Ustaritz (13km)|
This is the official map of Stage 20:
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 20:
Profile of Stage 20, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
The stage starts at Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle. It sets off from the 'fronton', which I believe is a big wall in the centre of the village, for ball games played by hitting the ball against the wall. Pelote, or Basque pelota, is a term for various different wall games which are played on 'frontons' in the local area, and there's a museum devoted to pelote in Saint-Pée.
Stage 20 leaves Saint-Pée heading ENE on the D3. The climbing starts straight away. Saint-Pée's website says the D3 is a winding road which traverses the forest of Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle towards the villages of Arbonne and Arcangues.
The time trial route is 31km, with 610m of climbing. Sud Ouest quote Romain Sicard, who took part in the official reconnaissance on 27th October 2017. He said, 'There isn't one metre of flat.' To do well, Sicard says riders will have to be rouleur, grimpeur, and puncheur (which is asking a lot!). With the tight bends and descents as well as the climbing, Sicard thinks the contenders for the yellow jersey will record times around 45 minutes.
After the initial climb out of Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle, the route descends towards Ustaritz, on the river Nive.
The height at Ustaritz is 53m. From Ustaritz, the route turns south and climbs. The first intermediate time check is after 13km, on the climb. The competitors then drop down slightly to 116m at Souraïde. There's a further descent before a climb to the route des Crêtes. The second intermediate time check is just short of the route des Crêtes, after 22km. From the route des Crêtes, the riders will then return to Souraïde via Larraldea.
The time trial leaves Souraïde on the D918, then launches up the Chemin de Kostatzu to the Col de Pinodieta (172m). Saint-Pée's website says that the Col de Pinodieta is 900m at an average gradient of 10.2%, with one section at 21%. Here's a video of the climb of the Col (or Côte) de Pinodieta, and the descent towards Espelette, filmed by Sud Ouest from a bus:
After that, it's downhill to the finish at Espelette.
The finish of the stage is at Espelette, a town associated with red chili peppers. The finish line is on the D918 south of the town centre, at the point where a wooden bridge spans the road.
The favourites for the stage win include the specialist time trialists such as Primoz Roglic and Stefan Küng. All-rounders with strong TT skills include Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas. Perhaps the favourite, if he's not too tired after the mountains, is Tom Dumoulin.
Stage 21 of the Tour de France 2018 is the traditional final stage to the Champs-Elysées in Paris. This year, it starts in Houilles, and heads into Paris via the Bois de Boulogne.
Read about Stage 21 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle is a village in the Basque province of Labourd, and the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of France. The village is called Senpere in Basque. It;s not far from the Basque coast, in particular the resort of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. It's known for the Lac de Saint-Pée, south east of the village, where water sports are practised.
The village is on the river Nivelle, and several streams join the river there.
The commune of Saint-Pée falls within the area that may produce piment d'Espelette (chili peppers) and ossau-iraty (cheese from raw sheep's milk).
Espelette is a small town with a population of around 2,000, in the Labourd province of the Basque country, and the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of France.
There was a major gypsum quarry here, producing material used to make porcelaine.
Espelette is known as a centre for the production of red chili peppers, which are hung outside houses in the summer, to dry. These chilis are used in Bayonne ham, and in dark chocolate. Espelette chili peppers aren't very hot, but they have a strong and agreeable taste.
Other local agricultural products include cheeses and animal hides.
The first ever Miss France (1920), Agnes Souret, was from Espelette, and is buried in the church graveyard.
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