Stage 18: Trie-sur-Baïse – Pau. 172km.

A brief respite from the mountains, this stage will be a chance for the pro sprinters to get back in the game (depending on how many of them have survived the gradients of the last few days) and for us to stretch our legs and remember what ‘flat’ feels like. We’ll enjoy blasting along the warm southern tarmac, perhaps stopping for a few selfies among the fields of sunflowers as we head for Pau, a Royal town (birthplace of Henri-‘Paris is worth a mass’-IV) which the Tour loves so much that this will be the 70th visit. This stage won’t feel easy after the last couple of days but it will be a very manageable 100 miler in the glorious French southern sun.