Pau and La Grande Boucle belong to each other like a dog to its boss. It is the most visited location in Tour de France history. In the past nine editions, the race visited the town in the Pyrenees’ foothills nine times. The last two arrivals both boiled down to a bunch sprint with Arnaud Démare (2018) and Marcel Kittel (2017) storming to victory.
No bunch sprint this time though. The Tour de Frances serves its only ITT on a course of 27 kilometres that’s marked by a number of uphills. The climb to the village of Mazères-Lezons and the punchy Côte d’Esquillot stand out. The first is crested at kilometre 6,5, the second at kilometre 16.
Pau was home to an ITT on the Tour de France only once. In 1981, Bernard Hinault took the 6th stage and the yellow jersey in a race against the clock. He retained in yellow all the way to Paris.
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