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Stage 20, Tour de France 2018

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.

Stage 20, Tour de France 2018: video highlights

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 20, Tour de France 2018: facts, figures, and map

Stage classification Individual time trial
Distance 31km
Intermediate time check pointsUstaritz (13km)
Souraïde (22km)

This is the official map of Stage 20:

The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 20:

Profile of Stage 20, TDF 2018

Profile of Stage 20, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France

Stage 20, Tour de France 2018: the route

Stage 20, Tour de France 2018: the start at Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle

Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle

Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle sign, by Marianne Casamance, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

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.

Stage 20, Tour de France 2018: Ustaritz, Souraïde, & the Col de Pinodieta

Countryside near Souraide

Countryside near Souraïde, by Marianne Casamance, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

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.

Ustaritz, fronton

'Fronton', Ustaritz, by Harrieta171, Licence CC BY 2.5

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.

Souraide

Souraïde, by PA, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

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.

Stage 20, Tour de France 2018: the finish at Espelette

Espelette

Espelette, by dynamosquito, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Stage 20, Tour de France 2018: favourites for the stage win

Tom Dumoulin in Dutch national time trial champion's jersey

Tom Dumoulin during a time trial at the 2015 Paris-Nice, by denismenchov08, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

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 20, Tour de France 2018: comments

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Stage 21, Tour de France 2018

Froome & Tony Martin, Paris, TDF 2017

Froome & Tony Martin, Paris, TDF 2017, by youkeys, Licence CC BY 2.0

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.

Stage 20, Tour de France 2018: towns, sights and attractions

Stage 20, Tour de France 2018: Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle

Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle, Town Hall

Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle Town Hall, by Havang(NL), Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

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).

Stage 20, Tour de France 2018: Espelette

Espelette

Hotel in Espelette, with drying chili peppers on the façade, by Harrieta171, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

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.

Saint-Pée-sur-NivelleSouraide, countrysideEspelette

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