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2018 Tour de France, Stage 18
|Trie-sur-Base to Pau (171 kilometres)|
|1st||Arnaud Demare (FDJ)|
|2nd||Christophe Laporte (Cofidis)|
|3rd||Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)|
The final transition day of the 2018 Tour de France is upon us, with it appearing almost certain a breakaway will succeed on Stage 18. Join The Roar for live coverage of the 171-kilometre trek to Pau from 10pm (AEST).
After yesterday’s explosive 65-kilometre trek through the mountains, this is the final day for the general classification hopefuls to have a bit of a breather.
Tomorrow, it’s back into the mountains for over 200 kilometres, before Saturday brings us the all-important individual time trial to decide who will wear the final yellow jersey into Paris on Sunday.
Today kicks off in Trie-sur-Baïse and will be flat most of the way to the Tour’s famous town of Pau, which has been home to a rest day and stage finish on more occasions than you could count on two hands.
The only climbs come at the Cote de Madiran after 53.5 kilometres and the Cote d’Anos after 152.5 kilometres, meaning it’s inside the last 20.
Still, they’re only Category 4 climbs, and the pace is unlikely to be on at that point providing a breakaway have a huge lead – which seems likely given the state of the race.
While there are no other categorised climbs, it’s a little lumpy, which will make it a tough chase for the peloton in between two mountain stages.
The only other thing worth talking about on the route is the intermediate sprint, in Aurensan, after 73 kilometres.
Making the chase even tougher is the fact Sky won’t let anyone close on GC go, and the fact there are now only three sprinters left in the race – Peter Sagan, Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Demare.
The race has been carnage for the sprinters, with most pulling the pin, so the trio left will have their eye set on clearing tomorrow’s mountains within the time cut and racing for glory in Paris, rather than winning today.
The finish itself is slightly downhill, setting up what should be an extremely quick sprint to the line.
After a fast start to form the breakaway, expect this to turn into a rolling rest day for the peloton. Even the intermediate sprint may not be contested, with Peter Sagan holding an unassailable 280-point lead on the green jersey.
As for the breakaway, I’ll take a wild stab in the dark and say one of Taylor Phinney, Maxime Bouet, Daryl Impey, Romain Sicard or Julien Sicard will take victory.
Join The Roar for live coverage of Stage 18 at the Tour de France from 10pm (AEST) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.