The final climb is similar to the one to Oropa, where Tom Dumoulin won last year. The rest of the route is also very similar. A long flat stage with a long haul up to the line. The climb to the Santuario di Oropa was slightly less long and less steep, yet it still should suit the title defender. In 2016, he won the Tour de France’s 9th stage to Arcalis. That’s another steady ascent.
But Simon Yates is on stellar form, so obviously he will be hard to beat when the road points uphill. After all, he already pocketed three stages on this Giro.
The last climb amounts to 13.9 kilometres. The first 2.5 kilometres go up at 5.3% before it continues for 4.5 kilometres at an average gradient of 7.8%. The rest of the ascent to Prato Nevoso is averaging 6.6%.
The 18th stage of the Giro totals 196 kilometres. With 60 kilometres to go the route climbs to Novello, but that’s the only intermediate hurdle – a 4th category KOM, so hardly demanding for climbers. Such a route makes it easy for teams with a GC contender to control the race before their leader can go for the stage win and bonus seconds on the last climb.
Obviously, there is always the possibility that a strong breakaway rider survives to race to victory if the peloton gives him too much leash early on in the stage.
Favourites 18th stage 2018 Giro d’Italia
*** Simon Yates, Tom Dumoulin, Chris Froome, Thibaut Pinot
** Robert Gesink, Valerio Conti, Giulio Ciccone, Fabio Aru, Nico Denz
* Miguel Ángel López, Domenico Pozzovivo, Davide Formolo, Alexandre Geniez
Giro d’Italia 2018 stage 18: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Start in Abbiategrasso
Details Prato Nevoso climb
Profile final kilometres
Details Prato Nevoso climb in 3D