The 110th Tour de France concluded on Sunday, bringing the curtain down on a fascinating race which saw Jonas Vingegaard win the yellow jersey for the second straight year.
The Jumbo-Visma rider duelled with UAE Emirates' Tadej Pogacar for three weeks, but his superior preparation paid off.
With his constant attacking, Pogacar confirmed his status as the people's champion, but he paid for his exploits in the final week as Vingegaard rode away in characteristically measured style.
Looking ahead to 2024, there is set to be a shifting of the furniture. With Paris hosting the Olympics, the traditional sprint finish along the Champs-Elysees will be moved, as the race concludes with a time-trial from Monaco to Nice.
As in 2023 with Bilbao, the Tour will again stage its Grand Depart abroad, this time in the Italian city of Florence.
The remainder of the route will be announced in October, but whatever the organisers come up with, they will need to go some way to match the drama and excitement of this year's race.
|Tour de France 2024
|Italy and France
|Saturday 29th June - Sunday 21st July, 2024
|How to watch
|Eurosport, ITV4, GCN and discovery+
|Jonas Vingegaard 8/11, Tadej Pogacar 15/8, Remco Evenepoel 5/1, Juan Ayuso 8/1 Primoz Roglic 14/1
The Tour always looked set to come down to seconds, but Pogacar's desperation to take time bonuses arguably cost him.
The Slovenian's lack of racing due to a broken wrist suffered in April potentially influenced Vingegaard's plan to target the final week and that is when he broke from the chasing pack.
While he took the yellow jersey on stage six, Vingegaard was happy to play a defensive game, responding to Pogacar's attacks by calmly riding back to his rival at his own pace before, as promised, he smashed the third week.
The Dane destroyed the competition by winning the stage 16 time-trial, a performance described as "the best time trial ever ridden", before making the most of Pogacar cracking the following day to finish fourth and take a lead of 7 minutes and 35 seconds.
Pogacar responded by trying to go on the attack, but his enthusiasm was matched by Vingegaard's composure, with the 26-year-old's patience in pacing himself paying off.
All told, he won the Tour for the second straight year and at seven minutes and 29 seconds, by the largest margin since 2014.
There will be one change in 2024 in that after winning the young rider classification for the last four years, Pogacar will finally be too old to match the criteria for wearing the white jersey.
Alpecin-Deceuninck's Jasper Philipsen also confirmed his status as the best sprinter in the world by winning the points classification.
The Belgian won four stages, but the last of those came on stage 11 and he was clearly getting frustrated in the final week as the peloton repeatedly lost to the breakaway.
There was also a new rider in the polka dot jersey worn by the leader of the mountains classification.
Pogacar and Vingegaard have shared the prize in the last three years as part of their path to yellow, but this time it was Giulio Ciccone who wore the jersey into Paris.
The Lidl-Trek man was a regular in the breakaway, targeting points on the early climbs of mountain stages and that helped him finish 14 points clear of AG2R Citroen's Felix Gall, who ended up eighth overall.
After taking the mountains prize at the Giro d'Italia in 2019, Ciccone may now look to complete the set at the upcoming Vuelta a Espana.
Speaking of which, Vingegaard is set to go back on to the road at the Vuelta, which starts with a team time-trial in Barcelona on Saturday 26th August.
The field for the final Grand Tour of the year already looks stacked, with Vingegaard expected to share the Jumbo-Visma leadership alongside three-time Vuelta champion and 2023 Giro d'Italia winner Primoz Roglic.
Pogacar has hinted that he will skip the race, but defending champion Soudal-Quick Step's Remco Evenepoel is set to ride, having withdrawn while leading the Giro.
Meanwhile, Geraint Thomas, who was second to Roglic in Italy, as well as one of the Tour's breakout stars, Carlos Rodriguez, are both likely to line up for Ineos Grenadiers.
Previous podium finishers Enric Mas (Movistar) and Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) are also set to start after crashing out on the opening weekend of the Tour.
If Pogacar does not compete, Adam Yates, third at the Tour, could lead UAE Team Emirates and could be joined by his twin brother and 2018 champion, Simon, of Jayco AIUla.
The mountainous route sets up similarly to the one which has just taken place in France and the quality of the field hints at more of the same.