The 2022 Tour de France is set for a dramatic final duel between Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard in Stage 18, with the col d’Aubisque, the col de Spandelles and the summit finish at Hautacam offering the possibility of a dramatic late turn in the Pyrenees.
Vingegaard maintained his healthy lead in the standings in Wednesday’s thrilling finish against Peyragudes but will know Pogacar will once again give everything he has in a final assault for the yellow jersey.
However, the Dane will also be aware that if he reaches Hautacam with his lead intact, he is almost certain to be crowned the winner of the Tour de France under the Champs Elysees on Sunday.
Vingegaard is already halfway through the Pyrenees Challenge. Despite Pogacar winning stage 17 at the Peyragudes airstrip, the 25-year-old limited the damage to just four seconds and maintains a lead of two minutes and 18 seconds in the standings.
Pogacar’s Team UAE was down to just four members on Tuesday after Rafal Majka was the last to retire, but Mikkel Bjerg and Brandon McNulty set a ferocious pace throughout and need to find the same energy for another big day.
Stage 18 features three brutal climbs, starting after the first 60km and after the intermediate sprint in Laruns. That Hor’s category The longest climb of this year’s Tour de France, the Col d’Aubisque will shatter any early eruption, but the technical descent is meant to be just as challenging.
From there, the Category 1 climb to the Col de Spandelles averages an 8.3 per cent gradient, the steepest of the three and with a wild section halfway up before Vingegaard and Pogacar are likely to face off again at the Hautacam.
This will be Pogacar’s last chance to attack Vingegaard and try to close the gap with the yellow jersey. With two more stages including Sunday’s 40km time trial, the Slovenian will have a chance if he makes it into a close fight. If Vingegaard can hold out again then the yellow jersey will be safe.
Level 18 profile
Level 18 map
Stage 18 start time
The stage is scheduled to start around 12:30pm BST and is expected to finish around 4:30pm BST.
So you see today on TV and online
This year’s Tour de France coverage can be found on ITV4, Eurosport, Discovery+ and GCN+ (Global Cycling Network).
Every day live races are shown on ITV4 before the highlights, usually at 19:00 every day. Times are listed on ITV’s website here.
It will also be shown on Eurosport’s Discovery+ streaming service with broadcast information here.
Overall level 17 classification
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo Visma 67h 53min 54sec
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates +2min 18sec
3. Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Ineos Grenadiers +4:56
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa-Samsic +7:43
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ +7:57
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM +9:21
7.Louis Meintjes (Rsa) Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux +9:24
8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe +9:56
9. Adam Yates (Gbr) Ineos Grenadiers +14:33
10. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar +16:35
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cycling/tour-de-france-stage-18-route-map-preview-today-b2128007.html Tour de France 2022 Stage 18 Preview: Route map and profile of the 143km road to Hautacam today