Vingegaard managed to extend his lead over Carapaz to four seconds on Wednesday and he hopes to do the same in the final mountain stage of this year’s race. The Dane took over a minute from Carapaz in the first individual time trial, so the Team Ineos Grenadiers man needs an advantage ahead of the decisive second race against the clock. Can he handle it on Stage 18?
The route includes the famous Col du Tourmalet and the grueling 13 km ascent to Luz Ardiden. If any of the GC runners have anything left, now is the time to put all their cards on the table.
It’s also another day when Mark Cavendish will have to stay alert for the cut-off time as he contemplates tomorrow’s flat stage.
Profile and route map
With two friendly stages for Cavendish and a time trial after today, it’s a realistic last chance for a breakaway to succeed before reaching Paris. For this reason, expect a very quick start as almost all teams with no overall standings ambition try to make the breakaway. The fact that this is a hotly contested stage means that it will probably be a very strong rider who will arrive at the finish. If one of Ineos’ boys is released from his duties as a servant, Geraint Thomas or Tao Geoghegen Hart could fight for victory. But they’ll almost certainly ride for Carapaz, so it could someday be for someone like Dan Martin or Michael Woods.
Stage 18 is expected to start around 12:30 p.m. BST and is expected to end around 4:30 p.m.