Tour de France 2018: Stage 20 preview

Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle - Espelette (ITT), 31km

There's only one individual time trial in the 105th Tour de France, but its characteristics make it unique in the history of the race. The distance isn't huge (31km) but it's up and down all the way and it comes on the penultimate day of racing.

It's a much harder one than in Marseille last year. The difference between two GC contenders can go up to one minute. Climbs are steep and descents are very technical. It's definitely not for a pure time trialist - Tony Martin might complain - but for a versatile rider.

Only the first part until Souraïde-Xurxurieta is rolling. With 3km to go, it's called col de Pinodieta. The climb is only 1km long but features gradients near 20 to 22 per cent! Espelette is the French capital of the Chili Pepper. It's the perfect place to spice up the finale of the Tour.

It's right in the heart of the Basque Country, where no stage has been held since the 2006 stage 10 from Cambo-les-Bains to Pau. This time, the whole stage is on Basque territory. Signage and commentary will be in French and Basque languages. There isn't any Euskaltel team anymore, but the passion for cycling on the Spanish side of the Basque remain such that it'll be a very popular stage on the road sides.

2018 Tour de France stage 20 map 

2018 Tour de France profile for stage 20

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