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 France serves its only ITT on a course of 27.2 kilometres that’s characterized by a number of gently rolling uphills, while the more punchy Côte d’Esquillot is the biggest hurdle. The 1.1 kilometres ramp slopes at almost 8%. The Esquillot may be the biggest hurdle, the finale holds a steep surprise up its sleeves. In the last few hundred metres the riders hit a 17% ramp. Short but hard, especially since the kick up begins right after a tight turn onto the Rue Mulot and the speed will be relatively low.
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.
Intermediate time checks are at kilometre 7.1 (after a rolling uphill), at kilometre 15.5 (atop the Esquillot), and at kilometre 21.9 (in the vineyards of Jurançon).
Another interesting read: results 13th stage 2019 Tour de France.
Tour de France 2019 stage 13: route, profile, more
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