Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 18 Race Preview

Le Tour de France 2018 – Stage 19 Preview

Course:

Last chance saloon. Crunch time. The final push. Whatever you want to call it, this is one of the few remaining opportunities to genuinely have an impact upon the general classification before the individual time trial. Featuring Col d’AspinCol du Tourmalet and Col d’Aubisque within the day’s six total ascents, we can expect serious fireworks if one of the big name contenders chooses to light the touchpaper.

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 19 Race Preview

Contenders

Primož Roglič will be aware that a strong performance today will set him up well for an incredible podium finish when the race reaches Paris. Strong in the time trial as well, a late attack could create a sufficient cushion from his rivals tomorrow and secure a stunning result for the former ski jumper.

Dan Martin has really been enjoying some brilliant form at this year’s race and shall fancy his chances of turning in another eye catching show on this epic stage. With a team strong enough to set him up for the stage win, the Irishman has a great chance of victory today.

Romain Bardet would need to muster something spectacular if he is to cause a stir today, as his showing at 2018’s Tour de France has been a disappointing affair. However, if he is to find glory with one perfect day of riding, then today is certainly that opportunity. An HC climb and tricky descent to end the day, Bardet could still salvage something from his home tour.

Nairo Quintana can still rise up the general classification today, though will struggle to find the same level of freedom which he possessed last week when takeing a stage win. Regardless, even though the Colombian has entered into great form late in the race, he could still cause a degree of panic amongst the leading contenders.

Others to consider are Adam YatesBauke MollemaMikel Nieve and Rafal Majka.

Outcome:

1st Dan Martin 2nd Romain Bardet 3rd Adam Yates

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Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 18 Race Preview

Le Tour de France 2018 – Stage 17 Preview

Course:

Beginning with an F1 style grid start, the incredibly short 65km Stage 17 from Bagnéres-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan is intended to light a fire beneath the general classification, if not a stack of C4. With an astounding 3200m of climbing in such a brief time, this will be a brutal affair which is likely to transform cracks of weakness into gaping voids within a few pedal strokes. The finale is atop the monstrous Col du Portet, demanding more than 2000m of climbing itself from bottom to top, destined to see some riders succumb to its fierce slopes.

Contenders:

Romain Bardet must attack today if he is to have anything to help limit his losses in the upcoming individual time trial. Such an intense stage will lend itself well to his explosive nature, while the distance will also make it harder for his rivals to calculate when to reel him back into the lead group. Tactically astute and looking strong, a well timed attack upon the Col du Portet may cause havoc amongst the general classification group.

Chris Froome will look to take advantage of those attempting to crack yellow jersey wearer Geraint Thomas, keeping his powder dry and pouncing with a full gas effort when the opportunity appears. Renowned for his high cadence attacks on the steepest of climbs, the day’s concluding ascent is going to be decisive and lends itself well to Froome’s ability to drill his way to the summit. Depending on how teammate Thomas performs, there is a strong possibility that Froome will finish the day with a stage win and the maillot jaune.

Adam Yates was unfortunate yesterday when crashing on the final descent while looking on course to secure his first Tour de France stage win. However, the British rider has already commented on how much more suitable today’s course is for him, signalling that he still feels strong enough to contest honours after his efforts yesterday. With no real threat to the general classification, there is every chance Yates will also be gifted the freedom to attack while the bigger names simple stare at one another.

Tom Dumoulin, Steven Kruijswijk, Mikel Landa & Nairo Quintana all know that they need to perform strongly today, though it might simply be a case of survival for these, as their chances of genuinely putting time into the duo of Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome looks as tough as the Col du Portet itself.

Outcome:

1st Adam Yates 2nd Romain Bardet 3rd Chris Froome

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 18 Race Preview

Le Tour de France 2018 – Stage 16 Preview

Course:

Treacherous waters await the peloton as they exit the final rest day of this year’s Tour de France, no rider truly certain of how their body will have coped with a day away from the rigours of racing. Their return begins on Stage 16, a 218km trek from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon, featuring five categorised climb and a rapid descent into the finishing line. Looking like a key day for the mountains classification, expect the general classification favourites to be content with letting the breakaway vanish up the road and decide the honours amongst themselves on this occasion.


Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 16 Race Preview

Contenders:

Warren Barguil is likely to fancy another swashbuckling attempt to sweep up the mountains points, as the Frenchman has made no attempt to hide his ambition to finish in the polka dot jersey by Paris. He looked strong in the second week of racing, and if he is fortunate to have sustained this factor as others begin to wane, then his chances of success look good.

Julian Alaphilippe needs to be following the moves keenly today if he is to retain his ownership of the polka dot jersey at the end of the day. With much of the day’s climbing being backloaded on Stage 16, this could make it tough for him to follow the biggest attacks late on, as a more explosive tail end to the day from his rivals could expose the fact he is not a pure climber.

Rafal Majka soon saw his general classification ambitions crumble before him once again, which no doubt means his focus will switch to taking the polka dot jersey if possible. Stage 16 is an ideal platform to really kick on in this respect, putting Barguil and Alaphilippe under some serious pressure ahead of the bigger days in the Pyrenees.

Omar Fraile makes the most of his strongest form whenever possible and it would not be surprising to see him in the break again and ultimately be one of the favourites to win Stage 16. Able to manage his efforts effectively, knowing precisely when to inflict the killer blow upon his rivals, Fraile has good pedigree when it comes to grand tour stages like these.

Romain Bardet seems to be the general classification rider most likely to attempt an attack in the concluding moments of Stage 16, especially with such a considerable descent down to the finish line. He could choose to ride the Col du Portillon at a fearsome pace, hoping to place his rivals on the rivet, before then pushing them into the red with another daredevil attack on the downhill into the day’s finish.

Outcome:

1st Warren Barguil 2nd Rafal Majka 3rd Omar Fraile

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 18 Race Preview

Le Tour de France 2018 – Stage 13 Preview

Course:

A relatively simple Stage 13 takes the riders from Bourg d’Oisans, at the foot of yesterday’s epic Alpe d’Huez finale, to Valence some 169.5km later. With the top line of sprinters having seen its ranks devastated (Mark Cavendish, André Greipel, Dylan Groenewegen and Fernando Gaviria now all absent from the race) it will be more difficult to control the breakaway for the originally anticipated sprint finish. With so many absentees, it is a great chance for the lesser known quick men to place themselves onto the podium, though such diminished numbers could prove irresistible for riders to chance their luck in the day’s move instead. The run into Valence is extremely technical, where a dominant leadout train could snap the bunch in two, depending on their ability to smoothly navigate the roundabouts and turns.

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 13 Race Preview

Contenders:

Peter Sagan must already feel as if another green jersey victory in Paris is assured, his lead upon the contest as strong as ever, with many of his potential rivals having now left the race. At the very least we can expect to see the world champion take a podium place, though the win is certainly possible, depending on his condition off the back of yesterday’s tough stage.

Arnaud Démare possesses a full team, one which is there entirely for him and will be extremely confident of ensuring the day ends with a sprint victory for himself. This is a golden opportunity to make their presence here worthwhile, and having only looked second best in the leadouts to masterminds Quick Step, Démare could be the man to beat.

Christophe Laporte has seen the pack thinned down sufficiently for him to begin considering himself a threat upon the stage honours. A consistent rider who perhaps only requires better support to really succeed, he can place himself in the shop window today if chasing home the bigger name riders.

Alexander Kristoff will not have an entire team to help him due to their interest in protecting Dan Martin, but the Norwegian hard man is used to fending for himself. Given that the final kilometres are likely to be a messy affair, this should prove beneficial for him and certainly improve his odds of challenging for the win.

John Degenkolb is no stranger to bunch sprints, though given his time away due to injury and increased focus upon the classics, it is easy to forget he has 10 Vuelta a España victories for a good reason. Having perfectly executed his plan upon the cobblestones during the opening week, confidence will be high and his form is more than enough evidence to argue for greater support from his teammates in guaranteeing a sprint finish in Valence.

Outcome:

1st Arnaud Démare 2nd John Degenkolb 3rd Alexander Kristoff

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 18 Race Preview

Le Tour de France 2018 – Stage 12 Preview

Course:

As if the rigours of yesterday’s stage were not already enough to make the riders jelly legged, Stage 12 sends the peloton over an assortment of brutal climbs, including Col de la MadeleineCol de la Croix de Fer and culminating atop the legendary Alpe d’Huez.With friction already apparent amongst the general classification contenders, those with eyes upon the yellow jersey will need to begin their foray into action to stand a chance of glory. Totalling 175.km from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Alpe d’Huez, the grupetto will be hoping for an easier life than yesterday, one which saw the likes of Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish miss the time cut.

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 12 Race Preview

Contenders:

Chris Froome finds himself in a strong position ahead of a decisive stage finish atop Alpe d’Huez, teammate Geraint Thomas currently in yellow and allowing Froome to sit on the wheel of his rivals as the responsibility falls to them in order to ignite the battle. With a great record upon the final climb itself, Froome knows he shall be able to make an impact upon the general classification if the chance appears.

Romain Bardet hesitated yesterday and thus saw Chris Froome vanish up the road ahead of him, particularly frustrating given the condition he is currently in. Though the finale does not suit him perfectly, as an overall stage, Bardet should find several chances to turn the screw upon his rivals and see if any cracks appear.

Nairo Quintana is another who possesses an encouraging record upon Alpe d’Huez, though has never quite been able to muster the ability to go all the way and take victory. If interested in kicking off his campaign upon the yellow jersey, then the feeling is that today is a good stage to do so.

Pierre Rolland is ever interested in taking the scalps of the biggest climbs of his native grand tour and is the man most likely to win Stage 12 ahead of the general classification riders. The Frenchman appears to be enjoying better form these days and will know that seeing such strength go to waste would be a travesty.

Outcome:

1st Chris Froome 2nd Romain Bardet 3rd Nairo Quintana

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 18 Race Preview

Le Tour de France 2018 – Stage 11 Preview

Course:

A short but intense 108.5km trek from Albertville to La Rosière offers little in the shape of flat roads, with the riders poised to tackle four categorised climbs during the day. A double-header of HC ascents in Montée de Bisanne and Col du Pré comprise the first half of Stage 11, where plenty of riders shall soon discover if they have the legs for victory or the broom-wagon. The final rise to the finish is 17.6km with an average of 5.8% and could provide us with the first genuine skirmish amongst the yellow jersey contenders.

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 11 Race Preview

Contenders:

Pierre Rolland is no stranger to the pursuit of the polka dot jersey and is likely to view Stage 11 as a springboard to a genuine campaign upon the mountains classification. With no real danger to the general classification, the Frenchman is bound to be given the freedom to join any move he can and has a sharp enough finish see the day out with a victory too.

Warren Barguil shall be testing the water on Stage 11, seeing who else is likely to begin challenging him for the polka dot jersey, at least learning who best to keep an eye upon during these days in the mountains. The lithe climber has made it clear his ambition is to leave this three week grand tour with the maillot à pois rouges upon his shoulders, thus his presence will surely be felt en route to La Rosière.

Romain Bardet has not had the best of luck during the opening week of racing, yet has demonstrated immense strength to overcome each hurdle convincingly, now appearing to be champing at the bit for these tough mountainous stages. With an uphill finish to La Rosière on offer, he may not win the stage, but will be a key instigator of any activity amongst the general classification favourites.

Dan Martin perhaps fancies his chances too on Stage 11, knowing that it is now or never to cash in on his blistering form which has already delivered him a stage win at this year’s race. Additionally, due to his earlier time losses, the Irishman is unlikely to be hounded down by the yellow jersey favourites and could instead find the space to attack upon the rise to La Rosière. Other than Alejandro Valverde or perhaps Rigoberto Uran, few can match Martin in a sprint for the line after such a gruelling day in the saddle.

Outcome:

1st Dan Martin 2nd Warren Barguil 3rd Romain Bardet

 

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 18 Race Preview

Le Tour de France 2018 – Stage 10 Preview

Course:

With little chance to reflect on the first race day of this year’s Tour de France, the peloton are immediately directed into the first mountainous campaign, where anyone who relaxed a little too much yesterday will find nowhere to hide once the pressure ratchets up. Featuring five categorised climbs during its 158.5km stretch from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand, it will be a shock to the system for many, including the HC Montée du plateau des Gliéres (featuring over a kilometre of gravel) and finishing with the challenging Col de la Colombière. A chance for favourites to recoup earlier loses? Glory for the breakaway? Stage 10 is sure to be an explosive opening foray amongst the clouds.

Le Tour de France 2018 Stage 10 Race Preview

Contenders:

Dan Martin has showcased impressive form, despite misfortune which has seen him lose time, though this does mean he shall be eager to begin reducing his deficit as soon as possible. The Irishman will be wanting to join any move which looks to have the potential of staying away until the line, where he can remind people of his surprisingly effective sprinting abilities. If the race is still relatively together heading into the foot of the Col de la Colombière, he is a favourite for matching the big name climbers, before then leapfrogging them over the summit and attacking to victory.

Primož Roglič continues to progress as a general classification rider, with today’s offering fitting his diesel engine abilities and impressive descending talents. Having already lost a fair amount of time to the overall favourites, he could be gifted a generous amount of freedom by the peloton, which he shall not hesitate to make the most of. If he happens to place himself within the day’s decisive move, he is capable of winning a sprint after a gruelling stage like this, though would surely prefer to go solo.

Alejandro Valverde is the favourite of many for Stage 10, suiting the mix of steep gradients and downhill sections, while being essentially unbeatable in a sprint at the end of it all. Despite being 38 years old, the veteran rider is producing the level of form which has seen him dominate his favoured terrain for almost ten years now. A marked man, Valverde will need to box clever or simply be on blistering form to steal the win today, with his old tricks raising few eyebrows anymore.

Rigoberto Uran will begin to take his chances to gain lost time if he is to stand much chance of placing his general classification ambitions back on track. Undoubtedly enjoying something akin to a renaissance in his career, the Colombian is in great shape for Le Tour and will need to remind his rivals of this as soon as possible. If the bunch is still together approaching the final climb, he is one of the big names who will look to escape late in the day, while knowing only Alejandro Valverde can match him in a drag race to the line.

Outcome:

1st Primož Roglič 2nd Rigoberto Uran 3rd Dan Martin