The Tour’s Pyrenean capital, the town that has hosted the race most often after Paris and Bordeaux, that pays tribute to it with its Tour des Géants garden and where the Tour feels totally at home, Pau has to go back a long time to find its last major rendezvous with the leading women racers. They occurred in the era of the Tour Féminin when it hosted two finishes (resulting in victories for Canadian Kelly Ann Way in 1984 and American Inga Thompson two years later) and the start of a stage to Mont-de-Marsan, where Jeannie Longo won in 1988. Pau will, therefore, be relishing the return of the women’s peloton when it hosts the final time trial. Its distance and profile will resemble the Tour de France time trial course of 2019, when Julian Alaphilippe, then in Yellow Jersey, achieved a huge feat by taking victory. Indeed, the last two stage winners in Pau are French, as Arnaud Démare won a bunch sprint there ahead of Christophe Laporte the year before. And in the event that the Tourmalet hasn’t delivered a definitive verdict the day before, what if the day’s winner was also the winner of the overall classification? She would then stand alongside Jean Robic (1947), Fausto Coppi (1952) and Bernard Hinault (1979), all of them winners in Pau before going on to win the Tour de France that same year.
- Prefecture of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64)
- Population: 75,600 (Palois and Paloises), 161,900 within the communes comprising the Pau Béarn Pyrénées municipality; 680,000 in Pyrénées-Atlantiques