Stage 18 Gap / Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
Course overview: Today is the second of four Alpine stages and it’ll be tough with no less than seven categorised climbs that include three category 3, three category 2 and the hors categorieCol du Glandon on the 186.5 km course. It’s uphill at the start and finishes with a 10km descent. The intermediate sprint point is at Riouperoux (107.5km).
Riders course will suit: The course features plenty of ups and downs and steeper sections that will suit the punchier climbers and there’s a very good chance of a breakaway succeeding.
Joaquim Roiguez 7.00
Joaquim Rodriquez has two stage wins in the bag and collected his second in the Pyrenees on a tough day. This course should suit if he can get into a late breakaway. He’ll be out there attacking on the climbs and he’s good on a steep descent that’ll take him to the line.
Alejandro Valverde 13.00
Alejandro Valverde has moved into third place in the overall standings after Tejay van Garderen abandoned in yesterday’s stage. He’s in terrific form looking after Nairo Quintana and could be very dangerous on the final climb and descent to the line.
Samuel Sanchez 15.00
The Olympic Games gold medallist can climb and descend and has been very good in his supporting role to Tejay van Garderen at this Tour. With van Garderen out of the race he has much more of a freer rein to go for a stage win.
Jakob Fuglsang 17.00
The Norwegian rider finished between Alejandro Rodriquez and Romain Bardet in first and third in stage 12. If the opportunity presents itself Jakob Fuglsang could be a chance today.
Pierre Rolland 17.00
The two time Tour stage winner has been quietly in the top 20 since stage 11. His best result at this year’s Tour is eighth in stage 10 in the Pyrenees. If he can get into the break he may have a shot at picking up the stage.
Romain Bardet $23.00
Young French rider Romain Bardet has really been mixing it up in the breakaways and has finished third on two occasions. Strong climbing and excellent descending skills plus a strong determination to win will serve him well today.
Impact on overall race:
With Tejay van Garderen out of the race Alejandro Valverde has moved into third in the general classification. A crash on the descent of the Col d’Allos in yesterday’s stage cost Alberto Contador more than two minutes and it’s looking increasingly unlikely he’ll be on the podium in Paris on Sunday. Nairo Quintana is still 3 minutes 10 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome and will be looking at reducing the deficit at every opportunity today.
Stage 18 Winner: Joaquim Rodriquez (7.00)
Romain Bardet v Pierre Rolland: Bardet (1.87)
Thibaut Pinot v Andrew Talansky: Pinot (1.60)
Roman Kreuziger v Michael Rogers: Kreuziger (1.55)