The race leaves from Embrun, in the 2013 Tour de France host to a climbing time trial that was won by Chris Froome. Four years later, in 2017, a stage set off in the Hautes-Alpes village and went to Salon-de-Provence, where Edvald Boasson Hagen brought the early break home.
A Boasson Hagen victory is highly unlikely this time, as the route traverses the Alps. Following intermediate climbs up the Col de Vars, Col d’Izoard and Col du Galibier the race ends with a descent to Valloire, which lies close to the summit of the Col du Télégraphe.
The Galibier is a grueling ascent of 23 kilometres. The first 14 kilometers are relatively easy. Actually this is the Col du Lautaret and gradients are hovering between 4 and 5%. The rest of the climb is 7 to 8% material with the last kilometre kicking up a little to 9%. Overall, the average gradient on the Galibier is 5.1%. After its crest – where the first three riders pocket time bonuses of 3, 2 and 1 seconds – the route flies down a 18 kilometres descent to the line in Valloire.
Valloire has rarely been included as an arrival. Obviously the village was a passage on numerous occasions on the way to the Galibier and in 2013 a stage left from Valloire to Ivrea. Attacker Beñat Intxausti took the win that day, outgunning Tanel Kangert and Przemyslav Niemiec in the sprint.
Time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds are awarded to the first three riders on the line in the 18th stage of the 2019 Tour de France.
Tour de France 2019 stage 18: Route map, height profiles, and more
Click on the images to zoom