Tour de France 2017 Stage 18 Preview; Briançon -> Izoard

Short preview as I’m short for time, apologies.

Today’s Recap

A weird day that managed to be both exciting and fairly dull at the same time!

One rider survived from the early morning break to take the day. It was great to see Roglic cross the line first after I have talked him up so much before and throughout this Tour. It was also mildly annoying not to have backed him though! Nonetheless, a great win and one he can hopefully kick on from for future GTs to come.

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Behind, the GC riders did split up on the ascent and descent of the Galibier, with Aru being the main loser on the day.

Uran sprinted to second for some valuable bonus seconds which moves him up to 2nd on GC, only ahead of Bardet due to the fractions of a second difference during the opening TT. While Froome extended his lead over everyone else with his 3rd place sprint on the day, meaning he has 27 seconds over both the Colombian and the Frenchman heading into the final summit finish of the race tomorrow.

Let’s take a look at what’s in store for the riders.

The Route

A fairly simple day that will be decided by one climb at the end.

tour-de-france-2017-stage-18-1495792571

There is a Cat-1 positioned almost temptingly far out from the finish for some long-range attacks but any that go there will be a hail-mary more than something meaningful.

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At 14.1km with an average gradient of 7.3% it is a brute, but is also fair to say that the first half of the climb starts off relatively “easy”. Well, when you look at the rest of it the climb that is!

The opening 7km average only 5.6%, whereas the second half is a much more painful sounding 9%. You better hold something back for the end of the day, that’s for sure.

How will the stage pan out?

It would make sense for Sky to let the break go on to take the stage. Doing so will get rid of the bonus seconds and increase Froome’s chance of overall glory come Paris.

However, Sky are prone to doing exactly the opposite from what makes sense tactically. Today they kept the break close, almost tempting people such as Contador to attack on the Croix de Fer. It worked out for them in the end, but they play a dangerous game and with how explosive Uran and Bardet have looked recently there is a chance they could take some more time tomorrow.

For some reason though I think Froome turns up tomorrow. It’s weird, but he has been underwhelming compared to his usual self so far yet is still in Yellow and with a TT to come he has a great chance of another Tour victory.

He can afford to ride a bit more defensively tomorrow with that in mind but I think he’ll want to go for the stage win.

In his past 3 Tour de France wins he has won an “open road” stage and I’m sure he would like to see that streak continue.

Prediction

Having found himself in Yellow after looking questionable, Froome will assert his dominance on the race tomorrow and motor away from everyone on the Izoard and secure his 4th Tour win in the process!

Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - Stage 21 from Chantilly to Paris, France

Betting

After another horrid day and a wasted 2pts on a H2H I tweeted out, that’s the blog now down to 1.87pt profit for the race so…yolo.

3pts WIN Froome @ 3/1 with BF/PP

Thanks as always for reading and apologies for this being a lot shorter than normal. I’m suffering from end of Tour fatigue like the riders and my La Course preview took a lot longer than expected to write. Speaking of which, you should definitely check that out…

Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.

 

 

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