Sponsored by TBS Labour Ltd

The rollercoaster of emotion continued its relentless journey on stage 20, despite it being the penultimate day of this year's Tour de France, and the yellow jersey in the bag for Jonas Vingegaard.

When interviewed prior to the stage about Thibaut Pinot's final mountain stage on his final Tour de France, Groupama-FDJ boss Marc Madiot immediately broke down in tears. It was a spontaneous display of raw emotion that reflected the ache in the hearts of many cycling fans who have followed the ups and down of the Frenchman's career, through injury, heartbreak, and occasional, precious success. Fans lined the roads singing ahead of his arrival, and the rest of us watching from home prepared our hearts for whatever may come. With 151 riders remaining in the race, the chance of victory for Pinot seemed slim, but with home roads ahead of him and the lap of honour beckoning, of course, we dared to dream.

We are working hard to keep you all entertained and informed, and we really hope you enjoy what you read. If you'd like to support the site at any point you can buy us a coffee, head to the writebikerepeat.com shop to have a browse and pick up an item or two, or subscribe as a free or paying member of the writebikerepeat crew. We'd love to have you on board. 




def: prepare your musettes!

Looking ahead to tomorrow...

Cuisine du Jour

Stage 21 - Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines - Paris (115.1km, Flat)

Stage 21 Profile courtesy of FirstCycling

We made it folks. From Bilbao, three weeks ago, we've travelled around the Basque Country and across the west, south, centre and east of France, and tomorrow the race makes its traditional pilgrimage to the capital city, for the usual mostly ceremonial jaunt around the city, before the sprinters take on their final challenge, the Champs-Élysées.

Of course there are many options when it comes to cuisine in one of the culinary capitals of the world but there can be only one choice for tomorrow's final stage: the Frenchest of appetisers, escargots. Yes it's obvious, but so is finishing in Paris every year, so it's perfectly fitting to choose it, and this isn't the only reason for the selection.

Though snails can be prepared in a variety of ways, I'm plumping for the perennially popular Burgundy recipe, in which they little fellas are presented in their shells and stuffed with garlic, herbs and butter. Usually a dozen at a time, though I feel a team of 8 snails would be a more apt amuse bouche given the circumstances.

Why snails? Well, given the breakneck speed of the previous three weeks of racing, tomorrow's procession will mostly be taken at a stately pace, which will feel like a snail's pace after everything this peloton have been through. The sprinters of course (and their lead-outs) will be the exception to the rule, with the least snail-like among them taking away the World Championships of sprint wins.

And for an added bonus, it's fun to note that escargots are also rich in iron and magnesium, which will help replenish the depleted riders after their exertions. So let's hope they are actually on the menu at the after party.

Escargots, slow and sumptuous, like stage 21 (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


def: after the effort, the comfort

Taking a sideways look back at the day's action, to reflect, reconcile and remember

Speedy Stage Takeaway

The final proper stage of this year's Tour. A short, sharp shock of a mountain stage, ups and downs and very little in between.

Victor Campanaerst the Inevitable is the first away. This time he takes his roommate Jasper de Buyst along for the ride and the pair are away for some time, until the climbing begins in earnest.

The Danish Lidl-Trek pair Mads Pedersen and Mattias Skjelmose form a dynamite team to secure Giulio Ciccone's polka dot jersey. Pedersen engages beast mode, powering up the climbs, and Ciccone scores the first two summits unchallenged.

Rodriguez crashes, followed shortly after by Sepp Kuss. Both are bloodied, matching wounds above their left eyes. Kuss comes off worst, dropping off the pace, as Ineos work to protect Rodriguez' GC position.

Groupama-FDJ launch a chase group and the mad of the hour Thibaut Pinot bridges across to the breakaway, with French champion Valentin Madouas coming across the his aid. But with UAE driving and Jumbo Visma attentive the fron group are given a miserly time gap.

Ciccone puts the KOM competition out of sight, mathematically speaking, and he celebrates, and enjoys the congratulations of his teammates and breakaway companions alike.

Teammates celebrating: Mattias Skjelmose grins at Ciccone's victory

A group of 5 hit the first of two category 1 climbs: Pinot, Pidcock, Barguil, Madouas, and Ciccone, trying to hang on.

Pinot attacks! He's on home roads and has the might of the French faithful behind him, roaring him on. He's on one final mission and it's truly beautiful to witness. He surges clear solo, with Pidcock trying to close behind, but this is Pinot's moment and he rides with his usual panache, rocking and rolling and exuding emotion. It's symbolic, this ride, and though we all pray to the cycling gods that he can pull it off, there's a sense of inevitability, of one last twist in the tale of two heroes that has defined and shaped this race.

On the Col du Platzerwasel, Pogačar puts in his first dig, and of course Vingegaard follows. They take Felix Gall with them, and the dream is over. Gall drags both of them up the climb for some reason, and the floodgates open behind, with Yates Squared riding together once again, closing the feedback loop they opened in Bilbao three weeks ago, providing the symmetry that the Tour de France thrives on.

It was every man for himself after that. Tadej Pogačar had enough left to sprint to his second stage victory of the Tour, and Pinot was able to come across in 6th position.

The final GC shuffles one again, with Simon Yates switching places with Carlos Rodriguez, and Gaudu and Martin both bumping up one place as a result of Sepp Kuss' crash, despite Gaudu himself also suffering a crash on the descent from Le Petit Ballon.

The final top 12 on GC (courtesy of FirstCycling)

Stage 20 in 20 WORDS

Ciccone crowned King in polka dots;
Lifted by the crowd, Pinot soars to one last hurrah;
Pogačar redemption;
Yates United.

Emoji Recap

by Anna McEwen

I need a drink!

with mixologist Stine Momo Agerbæk

That was a fun and generally joyful way to conclude the main competitive parts of this year’s Tour! Onwards to Paris, and with a celebratory drink to match…

Pour yourself a nice chilled glass of white wine from Alsace!

The majority of wine from the region is white, they tend to be single grape varieties and are generally aromatic and either on the sweeter side with residual sugar - or crisp, green and acidic… Sweet like victory, the stage, the KOM jersey or the GC… or less sweet like sadly crashing on the final GC stage and battling through the stage like Rodriguez, Gaudu and Kuss.

Nice bottle of RIesling, anyone? (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Some of the best known varieties of Alsatian wine are Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Muscat and Gewurztraminer…  Pinot Blanc is most often bright and citric, Riesling even more so, Muscat feels almost decadent and dessert-like (like Pinot in the front of the race), and Gewurztraminer is the Pogačar of the bunch - often described as extrovert and expressive and even flamboyant.

And then there’s Cremant d’Alsace, probably my favourite French sparkling wine. Tasty, dry and festive, produced like Champagne, but a little more affordable. It’s like the KOM jersey to the Yellow one, just with wine and bubbles.

Santé tout le monde

Or perhaps a Cremant d’Alsace to toast a fine Pinot performance (Image credit: Wikimedia commons)w

Vive la Lanterne Rouge


Yes, I was right - Alpecin-Deceuninck are vying with Lotto-DSTNY for having the most riders finish as Lanterne Rouge, so much so in fact that yesterday's visitor to the Vive Lounge, Jonas Rickaert, enjoyed his time here so much he finished last again today. He's had a turn though so the penultimate rider to cross the line is invited instead, and that was Rickaert's teammate Kragh.

In a Tour that's been quite Danish overall, Kragh hasn't had a win for himself, but he's worked very hard for his team. Let's find out THREE FACTS about the man himself.

  1. He hails from Strib, near the town of Middelfart in Denmark. Yes, that is the name of a town (it means medium speed or "halfway there").
  2. He Rode for the Danish conti team Team Trefor-Blue Water in 2014-2015. In 2015 he was teammates with Jonas Gregaard of Uno-X who's also riding the Tour, along with Emil Vinjebo who's also at the Tour as a commentator for DK TV2.
  3. His breakaway win at Eschborn-Frankfurt this year was his first pro win since 2020. It's been a good year for Kragh in more ways than one - he became a father for the first time in April.
The family Kragh (image from Søren Kragh Andersen's Instagram)


noun: the refuelling

Features to enhance your Tour experience, and refresh your mind after a long day's cycling viewing.

Stat du Jour

by Sam Mould

So mountains completed for another year and so far this Tour the riders have clocked up 53,756m of elevation climbed this month. For any Zwifters out there, to put that in context, that is 51.05 repetitions of Road to Sky, or 2.32 ascents per day with no rest day.

The highest categorised climb of today's stage was Col du Platzerwasel at 1,193m, or 676.84 Tadej Pogačars.


Band of Brothers

There are 27 nations represented at this year's Tour, and coincidentally, 21 of them have two or more riders. Each day, we'll take a look at a different nation, evaluate their chances of success and throw in a random fact or two, and add to our 'National Standings' chart to see if numerical advantage translates to more stage wins. Dedicated to Justdiggit, Gino's charity of choice, who have set up a specific project in Gino's memory - please consider donating to them, during the Tour.

This segment is dedicated to the memory of the late Gino Mäder


Perhaps the most surprising thing about Colombia's inclusion today is that it's come so late in the Tour, and not as a result of them winning a stage or jersey. Despite having 5 riders at this year's Tour, it's been a quiet one for the nation who have shone so many times at Grand Tours previously. A former winner stands among their ranks in Egan Bernal, but his return to the race was a triumph in itself, after a horror crash early in 2022. To see him complete the race has been a privilege given the injuries he has had to recover from.

Alongside him, Harold Tejada has had a strong race for Astana Qazaqstan, featuring in a number of breakaways, finishing inside the top 30 five times, and in the top ten once - coming in an admirable 8th place on Grand Colombier. 

The remaining Colombians have had mixed fortunes. Bernal's teammate Dani Martinez was one of a potential trio of GC riders for INEOS Grenadiers, but despite finishing 7th on the Pau-Laruns stage, his form fell away and he was forced to retire from the race prior to stage 15 with a concussion.

Another retiree, one of the pair of EF Education-EasyPost Colombians, and current national champion Esteban Chaves. The rockstar Rigoberto Uran remained and was active for a while in today's stage, but has had an underwhelming Tour outside of that by his own standards.

So no South American representation on this year's national standings - let's see where we are at, with one stage remaining.

Graphic design: Sam Mould

Pardon my French

avec Mathieu Fraisse

Last real stage of this 2023 Tour de France before the yearly parade on the Champs-Élysées!

Last chance for a lot of riders to get a win; will Jonas Vingegaard and the rest of the GC guys let the breakaway fight for it?

The polka-dot battle between Ciccone and Gall should rage on, but with Gall being 8th on GC, will Jumbo give him today's French expression?

Bon de sortie | bɔ̃ də sɔʁti

Literally, an exit ticket. 🎫

When the peloton gives permission to certain riders to take part in the breakaway.

E.g.: Ciccone aura un bon de sortie aujourd'hui, mais qu'en est-il de Felix Gall ?

Ciccone will have an exit ticket today, but what about Felix Gall?

In the late stages of the Tour de France it is easier to get your 'bon de sortie' as gaps have grown. Climbers over 30 minutes behind on GC won't threaten the yellow jersey and are free to join the breakaway.

For riders closer on GC it depends on the strategy of the yellow jersey's team. During this Tour we've seen riders like Pello Bilbao or Simon Yates get freedom on mountain stages and move up on general classification.

To find balance between when to chase and when to give riders a 'bon de sortie' to join the breakaway is part of the global strategy. Jumbo-Visma has been quite good with this, am I right? 😏


Thibaut Pinot made the most of his ticket today and almost achieved a prestigious win in the Vosges! What a way to (almost) end this Tour de France 🤩

We'll be back tomorrow for the last French expression of the day and fireworks on the Champs-Élysées!

YéYé, c'est Le Tour de France 2023

with DJ Momo

One stage to go…  And what a race we’ve had!

71: One day more… or at least for the GC and KOM. The iconic Les Mis ensemble crescendo is the perfect soundtrack to a whole peloton of riders and teams gearing up for one final big battle, all with interconnected and conflicting goals and dreams. Like today!

72 + 73: It was an itsy-bitsy teeny weeny red-and-white polka dot jersey… and it belongs to Giulio Ciccone! I am so happy for him!

I have absolutely LOVED watching Lidl-TREK go all in for the KOM competition, they went for it with the whole team, full of heart and with the same dedication and focus as the best sprint lead-outs or GC teams! Grande Cicco! And that lidl (sorry) push ahead from Pinot and Cicco’s joyful celebration over the summit where it became solid was incredibly heart-warming to watch.

74 + 75: Any excuse to feature songs about balloons, eh? The first is a nod to how close to Germany today’s stage is, and the second is once again Jonas Vingegaard’s stated favourite band, feels fitting when this was the last big hurdle of the GC battle.

76: Oh Pinot. My heart! In the true romantic hero fashion of his image and career, here’s a song to cherish him and how he once again made us all dream today. As the (long and extremely animated) song says:

Your dreams taking flight in, the absence of wings

At last we're all alone

We'll carry each other into the unknown

Stay close, illuminate

The part of me the dark has yet to take

Don't you worry 'bout the future

Times like these weren't meant to last

But I'll cherish you forever and this moment is eternal

Just like everything must pass.

Merci TiboPino <3

77: Jonas & Tadej, Adam & Simon, Felix Gall & the whole gang of top GC guys… Some combinations were just emblematic for this version of TdF and this stage once again showed how iconic they have become.

78: In the last few days I’ve heard Jonas, Tadej, Sepp Kuss, Mikkel Bjerg, Gianetti and Grischa (Mauro/Niermann) all say how much the top 2 of the last 3 Tours need each other and how much better they make cycling overall. I am so happy to see Pogačar back in his element again today, and really hope this won’t be the last of their epic clashes. Please let it continue!

(I am sure it will, I’m just being melodramatic because this Tour is almost over…)

Uno-X Watch

What did I say about Tobias Johannessen? OK, I actually said he'd try to improve on his race best 3rd place, and of course he did try, but with the top 2 on GC going into battle for one final time it was a tricky prospect. He still finished in the top 10 though, achieving a 9th place to add to his 3rd, 5th and 6th - four top 10s at your first time of asking is an excellent outcome, and one the young Norwegian should rightly be proud of.


def: The bits and bobs, the shiny things, the small treasures that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Rider doing something they’re not supposed to be doing of the day

THIBAUT PINOT. You're not supposed to be breaking all of our hearts. We've celebrated with you and cried with you over the years, and now you're going to live your best life cuddling baby goats and relaxing, free of the pressure of this mad sport, and goodness knows you'll deserve it. Today was wonderful, regardless of the outcome; you laid it all out there one last time and for that, we agree with the official Tour account when they say - merci Thibaut.

Tweets of the Day

It's not technically a Tweet, but I love them, they've provided excellent entertainment with their daily Instagram videos, and they kicked off the action on today's stage - besties Victor and Jasper.

And basically the entirely of the Groupama-FDJ Twitter and Instagram feeds, not just today but every day of this Tour - they've been excellent. But this one was lovely, as fellow French veteran Warren Barguil says goodbye to his friend as they finish their final Tour together. Anyone for a few more tears in Paris tomorrow? Don't mind if I do.

The Ultimate Question

Which moment of this year's Tour de France made you cheer the loudest?

Photo competition

Sponsored by Jen’s Cycling Art

Are you visiting a stage of Le Tour this year? If so, this is your chance not only to show your photography skills to the world, but also to win a prize courtesy of Jen's Cycling Art.

LAST CALL FOR PHOTOS! Send me your best on Twitter via DM, or via the contact form on here, by Monday, for a chance to enter the competition. The best will feature on Twitter.

If you have enjoyed reading this post and would like to show your support for my free cycling content, consider buying me a coffee. And if you’d like to hear from me more regularly subscribe.

Share this post