After yesterday’s brief breakaway respite, today’s stage is a brutal return to the mountainous general classification action. Expect to see sparks flying as riders attempt to wrestle the maglia rosa from the shoulders of Nairo Quintana up to the summit finish at Rifugio Panarotta.
Thursday 29th May: Stage 18: Belluno to Rifugio Panarotta, high mountains, 171km
At only 171km, stage 18 isn’t grueling in its distance. But what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in undulation, with the riders taking in two giant climbs on their way from Belluno to the summit finish at Rifugio Panarotta. With the peak of the first category Passo San Pellegrino coming just over 54km into the stage, the first climb on the agenda will only serve to soften the legs ahead of the pain to follow.
The next categorised climb is the category two Passo del Redebus, which isn’t as difficult but culminates inside the final 50km of the stage. Immediately preceding a long descent into the final first category climb up to Rifugio Panarotta, we could see some daring riders look to carry a gap over the top and hold on to the finish. In all likelihood, though, the GC action won’t really kick off until we reach the final climb with less than 20km remaining.
Link: Official website