Tour de France 2019 Favourites stage 18: Fly down the Galibier

Thibaut Pinot - Tour de France 2019 Favourites stage 18: Fly down the GalibierThe last 75 kilometres of the 18th stage on the Tour de France pass over two hors-catégorie cols. The last one is the infamous Galibier - 23 kilometres at 5.1% -, before the riders plunge down a fast descent of 19 kilometres into Valloire. (Slideshow route/profile)

The first rider at the summit of the Galibier gains a time bonus of 8 seconds. If he can hold on to in the decent to claim the 10 seconds bonus awarded to the stage winner, he ends up scooping quite a jackpot. These things considered, it seems unlikely for the breakaway to succeed in the stage over the legendary trio Vars, Izoard and Galibier.

The climbing gets underway with the 3rd category Demoiselles Coiffées to warm the legs. Following a short descent, the route continues false flat to the Col de Vars. The 9.3 kilometres climb at 7.5% is crested at kilometre 85.5. Two hors-catégorie climbs left, so now it is getting serious.

Back in the valley the route starts to climb immediately, although at shallow gradients. If you add this section to the actual climb, the Col d’Izoard is 32 kilometres long. Yet, the official ascent begins when the riders leave the D947 with a sharp left-hander. Seen in this light, the Izoard is 14.1 kilometres long and the average slope sits at 7.3%.

After Briançon the riders tackle the Galibier. Actually, the first 15 kilometres are the Col du Lauteret, which is a friendly ascent with gradients hovering around 5%. The climb ups the ante after that with an average gradients of 6.2% in the second part, while the last kilometre climbs at 9%.

Given the time bonuses and the brutality of the Galibier, the GC battle is expected to be intense. The sheer length of the last climb and the previous hardship should bring tough climbers to the fore.

Obviously, how the race unfolds depends on the GC, so we will update this article in due time.

Favourites 18th stage 2019 Tour de France

*** Thibaut Pinot, Mikel Landa, Steven Kruijswijk
** Adam Yates, Egan Bernal, Jakob Fuglsang
* Enric Mas, Nairo Quintana, Geraint Thomas

Take a look at the route of the 18th stage on the Tour de France.

Tour de France 2019 stage 18: profiles

Click on the images to zoom


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