2017 Tour De France: Stage 18 live race updates, blog

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    It’s D-Day at the Tour de France, with Stage 18 being the last chance for the climbers to wrench time off of Chris Froome before the final Time Trial. Join The Roar for live coverage and updates from 9pm (AEST).

    In the closest Tour de France in the last five years, today’s 180-kilometre trek from Briancon to Izoard plays host to the races final mountain stage and what will be a decisive summit finish up the Col D’Izoard.

    With tomorrow’s essentially flat stage, it’s the last chance for Fabio Aru and Roman Bardet to gain time on Chris Froome and Rigoberto Uran before Stage 20’s ITT, which heavily fancies the later riders.

    The day will start out with the peloton heading south out of Briacon and while bumpy and including the Category 3 Côte des Demoiselles Coiffées, it won’t hit any steep roads until the route loops back, heading north towards the Izoard just after the intermediate sprint point 90 kilometres in.

    The route gradually climbs skywards and at the 129kilometres mark the race will hit the Category 1 climb up the Col de Vars.

    At an average gradient of 7.5 per cent for 9.3 kilometres, it is unlikely to dislodge any of the favourites but likely to play host to some opening salvos from Aru and Bardet who will be desperate to wear out the legs of Froome’s domestiques before the decisive final climb.

    An 18 kilometres descent will set the table for the final summit finish of the Tour, the Col D’Izoard, a climb that has launched victories to legendary names such as Fausto Coppi, Louison Bobet and Eddy Merckx.

    The 14-kilometre brute has an average gradient of 7.3 per cent but while it starts out slowly, barring a very short dip 4km from the finish, from the halfway point onwards it averages in the 9-10 per cent range.

    The steepest point comes at just after halfway and with 6km to go it could be where Aru or Bardet launch the race winning move.

    At the end of the day it will boil down to how much time Aru or Bardet can take from Froome and Uran who on their day are both world class time trialists and capable of taking over a minute back.

    Bardet, Aru and Uran have looked in supreme climbing form all tour while Froome has varied between comfortable and completely cracked at different points. Yet he still found a way to hold the lead and has for most of the race.

    Of course we cannot forget Sky’s joker in the pack Mikel Landa, who has consistently looked to be one of the strongest climbers in the Tour and only sits a minute back from his Sky teammate Froome.

    Prediction
    Barring something extraordinary the breakaway has no chance today. Sky are going to set a hellish pace on the front all day to try and deaden the explosiveness of the other climbers.

    It is unlikely any of the contenders will be able to escape on the Col de Vars, but the Izoard will be another story.

    Aru and Bardet have no choice but to attack and they may ally together to try and crack Froome as they were able to on Stage 12.

    Bardet looked the strongest of the two yesterday and has been the most aggressive rider in the General Classification so I predict he will throw the kitchen sink at Sky while riding to the stage win and perhaps momentarily take the race lead, but will not gain the necessary time to ride to Paris in the yellow jersey.

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    The Crowd Says (223)

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    • Roar Guru

      2:00am
      Sam Brown said | 2:00am | ! Report

      Well that wraps up my coverage of the Tour.

      Thanks to all the guys who joined in and had a chat in the comments.

      What a ride by Barguil, he was the true King of the Mountains.

      As for Froome, while a lot was made of his Stage 12 ‘crack’ he has been just about invincible for a long time at the Tour. Bardet and AG2R emptied everything at him today and still couldn’t match him.

      Would I like to see him attack more? Absolutely, would I like to see more of a challenge? Of course.

      However baring a disaster he will ride to Paris on Sunday and rightfully collect his 4th Yellow Jersey. Champions find a way to win and that is what Froome has done this Tour.

    • Roar Guru

      1:53am
      Sam Brown said | 1:53am | ! Report

      General Classification
      1. Chris Froome (Sky)
      2. Roman Bardet (AG2R) +0.23
      3. Rigeberto Uran (Cannondale) +0.29
      4. Mikel Landa (Sky) +1.36
      5. Fabio Aru (Astana) +1.55
      6. Dan Martin (Quickstep) +2.56
      7. Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) +4.46
      8. Louis Meintjes (UAE) +6.52
      9. Warren Barguil (Sunweb) +8.22
      10. Alberto Contador (Trek) +8.34

    • Roar Guru

      1:52am
      Scott Pryde said | 1:52am | ! Report

      Well, I’m out. Given I’m covering the final 3 days, I better try get some sleep.

      Cheers Sam.

    • Roar Guru

      1:49am
      Sam Brown said | 1:49am | ! Report

      Stage Results
      1. Warren Barguil (Sunweb)
      2. Darwin Attapuma (UAE) +0.20
      3. Roman Bardet (AG2R) +0.20
      4. Chris Froome (Sky) +0.20
      5. Rigeberto Uran (Cannondale) +0.22
      6. Mikel Landa (Sky) +0.32
      7. Louis Meintjes (UAE) +0.37
      8. Dan Martin (Quickstep) +0.39
      9. Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) +0.59
      10. Alberto Contador (Trek) +1.09

    • Roar Guru

      1:41am
      Sam Brown said | 1:41am | ! Report

      Aru loses about a minute and will drop down the standings.

      Yates will lose a handful of seconds to Menjtes but will hold the White Jersey

      Barguil will move into the top 10.

      • Roar Guru

        1:42am
        Scott Pryde said | 1:42am | ! Report

        Should put Landa up into fourth. He could well sneak onto the podium given Bardet’s TT ability.

    • Roar Guru

      1:39am
      Scott Pryde said | 1:39am | ! Report

      Cadel Evans made me fall in love with this sport. Chris Froome and Sky are making me fall out of love with this sport if that’s possible.

      All you want out of a sporting event is some unpredictableness – and don’t get me wrong the race for the green jersey has been that with the brilliant efforts of Matthews.

      But every mountain stage, you feel is on the same trajectory. Full credit to AG2R today for trying to mix things up, but when Sky have the two strongest riders in the race, and a few more who would finish in the top ten or 20 if they were on different teams, you have to question what’s the point.

      I never thought the TDF would be overtaken as the best race on the calendar, but it has. It has. The Giro and the Classics. Give me them any day over this Team Sky/Chris Froome procession to Paris.

      • Roar Guru

        1:43am
        Sam Brown said | 1:43am | ! Report

        I feel the same in many ways.

        I just wish Froome had gone for it more, the way he raced last year was so fun but he completely kept his powder dry this year with only 1 attack in the mountains all Tour.

        • 1:45am
          James said | 1:45am | ! Report

          Thats not Froomes fault, thats other teams fault for not making him have to work harder. Froome has worked as hard as is necessary to guarantee a win.
          You like competition for the sake of competition, thats boring to many people when its not the best competing.

          • Roar Guru

            1:49am
            Scott Pryde said | 1:49am | ! Report

            No James – what’s boring is Froome having three of the best riders in the race to take him to victory. That’s shallow at best.

          • Roar Guru

            1:55am
            Sam Brown said | 1:55am | ! Report

            I’d have to agree with Scott, it is an unfortunate consequence of a lack of any kind of salary control. Sky just have such a dominant team.

            That said Froome has been nearly invincible at the Tour for a long time now and when he did attack he looked really good. He was clearly the best rider at the Tour even with the support he was given.

            • 3:13pm
              James said | 3:13pm | ! Report

              But Scott i thought Froome won as soon as Porte crashed out, what does that have to do with the Sky train? My problem with people complaining about team Sky is that if you dilute them it makes the race slower, which means that guys who are not as good can stay in contention longer or even beat better riders.
              Aru has stayed in contention for so long almost without a team because he has just been riding behind Froome all day and then trying for a few seconds every now and again, he isnt good enough and doesnt have the legs as the last few days have shown but what is stopping riders with better legs trying that, or even trying anything which no team has done until yesterday. Froome is the best rider with the best team but Sky doesnt have an unlimited budget, most of the top teams are within 5% of Skys so whilst money can be an excuse it cant be the reason.
              You find it boring, i find it exciting that its so brutal, that the pace set by Sky is so fast that guys like Bardet just cannot attack but Froome can. Its a long distance race its meant to be brutal and as fast as possible. By all means if you want a race thats slower but has more flashy stuff at the end im sure there are races like that.
              Sky won because of tactics more than anything else, they had some unlike every other gc team.

    • Roar Guru

      1:39am
      Sam Brown said | 1:39am | ! Report

      Attapuma JUST manages to hold off Bardet and Froome at the line. Uran and Landa cross just after them.

    • Roar Guru

      1:38am
      Scott Pryde said | 1:38am | ! Report

      Well, Saturday’s time trial is going to be about as fun as your average lawn bowls broadcast. Chris Froome wins another Tour.

      • Roar Guru

        1:39am
        Sam Brown said | 1:39am | ! Report

        The minor placings will be where it is at.

        White jersey too.

    • Roar Guru

      1:37am
      Sam Brown said | 1:37am | ! Report

      Warren Barguil, the true King of the Mountains takes his second stage winning up the Col D’Izoard.

      • Roar Guru

        1:38am
        Sam Brown said | 1:38am | ! Report

        What a Tour for Sunweb 4 stages – the green and polka dot jersey.

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