What you should know about the Tour’s 18th stage, which takes riders from Sallanches to Megève. – By Whit Yost
Stage 18 brings the 2016 Tour de France to its second individual time-trial, a 17km uphill test that will further shape the General Classification as Paris approaches. The stage begins in Sallanches, site of the 1964 and 1980 UCI Road World Championships, and then takes the riders over two climbs—with no descent in between. In all, the riders will spend about 14 of the stage’s 17 kilometres going uphill.
Today’s stage is the Tour’s first uphill time trial since the timed climb to L’Alpe d’Huez in 2004 which remains one of the most popular stages in terms of number of spectators.
The stage from Sallanches to Megève also showcases the hill of Domancy in its first three kilometres where Bernard Hinault won the world championship in 1980. There’ll be a 5000-euros prize for the fastest rider on that climb but there’ll be more kilometres to cover and more climbing after. The changes of rhythm will be the key to win the race with a steep section towards the end.
Why It Matters
Stage 18 is a chance for Chris Froome to put the Tour out of reach. As the Tour’s best climber and one of its best time trialists, the 17km uphill race against the clock has all the makings of Tour-clinching performance for the Kenyan-born Briton. Behind him, the rest of the field will try their best to limit losses while jostling for their own positions on the Tour’s GC.
When to Tune In
Stage 18 is a day for the Tour’s GC contenders to shine, which means you only need to make time to see the final riders tackle the 17km course. Tune in at about 4:30pm (SA time) to see the top 10 riders hit the course, or at around 4:45pm to see the top five.
Some of the information in this article was taken from Le Tour website.