Stage 18 of the Tour is a brutal test of stamina and endurance being the first time the a tour stage has included three climbs in excess of 2,000m each. The peloton enter the Alps for a decisive three days with several top contenders with ideas on the yellow jersey.
Its not clear if the main protagonists will decide the stage victory with vital bonus seconds on offer but we are guaranteed attacks throughout the day.
Several teams will send riders in the early breakaway with a view to bridging to their main hopes later while others will see this as a chance of redemption following an underwhelming Tour.
Dan Martin and Adam Yates have failed to show their true form and will surely try and get up the road early while Simon Yates is looking for a third stage win. He heads up the betting at 9/2 in a wide open heat.
Whether the break are given enough leeway to stay out all day is a matter for conjecture but if that is the case then look for Fabio Aru, Vicenzo Nibali and Pelle Bilbao to be in the shake up, and for those who like long odds the 100/1 for Tanel Kangert and the 325/1 for Rein Taamarae could offer entertainment value.
We believe that Movistar will go on the front foot today and ensure that their riders in the break can assist in bringing Mikel Landa back into podium contention. To do so they will have to control the break to allow their Basque climber every chance of success. With excellent descending skills for the finale there is every chance he can take the stage win and give himself an outside chance of podium. He has looked the second best climber of the GC boys with only Thibaut Pinot ahead, but Pinot is far from a bold descender and that can make the difference.
Julian Alaphillipe will look to limit losses on the third testing climb of the Galibier and then make it back on the race down the other side – a task easier said than done. It sets it up for a compelling day and perhaps one that will whittle the field down to a select few.
Mikel Landa to win Stage 18 of the tour, 1pt win, 9/1 (Unibet)
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