[Article was written before the start of the Tour of Britain and has not been updated.]
Possibly, the first gaps on GC will be opened up on the first day of action, as the 1st stage takes in an 800 metres climb at 9% with its crest 7.5 kilometres before the line. Following a 3.5 kilometres descent the last 4 kilometres run on the flat. The race is played out in Wales, so possibly Geraint Thomas will be inspired to strike a first blow. On the other hand, Primoz Roglic and Julian Alaphilippe are also competing. The Slovenian and Frenchman are world class punchers and even better descenders.
Presumably, the battle for the GC victory on the Tour of Britain will come down to the stages 3, 5 and 6. To start with the first one, the 3rd stage is merely 125 kilometres long, yet travels to a trying finale in Bristol. A 1.4 kilometres climb at 6.4% with 8.8 kilometres out before a 800 metres ramp at 8.8% leads to a false flat of 2.1 kilometres to the line. Another course that suits the talents of Alaphilippe, Roglic and Thomas.
In the 5th stage it is up to Team Sky. The demanding 14 kilometres team time trial slopes in the second half of the race, which could turn out to be decisive in terms of the overall victory in the 2018 Tour of Britain. Yet, the 6th stage could also be crucial. The hilly race travels over four intermediate climbs to finish at the Whinlatter Pass after a final climb of 3 kilometres at 7%.
Favourites 2018 Tour of Britain
*** Julian Alaphilippe, Primoz Roglic, Geraint Thomas
** Maximilian Schachmann, Chris Froome, Tejay van Garderen
* Wout Poels, Bob Jungels, Stefan Küng, Louis Vervaeke, Robert Power
Tour of Britain 2018: Route map, height profiles, and more
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