Tour de France 2018

Stage 12 Overview

Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs to Alpe d'Huez

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Stage Summary

Stage 12 will be a showcase for (and likely a prime target of) the Tour’s best climbers and GC contenders. With three famous climbs (Col de la Madeleine, Lacets de Montvernier and Col de la Croix de Fer), culminating in a summit finish atop the incomparable Alpe d’Huez, a stage victory here would be a career-crowning achievement. Don’t miss this stage, as it’s likely to start bringing the GC into focus.


A star-studded early break (including current KOM Julian Alaphilippe and veteran Alejandro Valverde) eventually dwindled to just one: Steven Kruijswijk of LottoNL-Jumbo. The Dutchman bravely went solo with 71km to go, and entered the Alpe with nearly four minutes on the yellow jersey group. For a time he even held the virtual yellow jersey, but was steadily and excruciatingly reeled back by the Sky train on the stage’s penultimate climb.


By 10km to go the race was down to the GC favorites: Froome, Thomas, Landa, Roglic, Nibali, Dumoulin, and Bardet. The frenchmen launched multiple attacks, but were unable to shake Froome and Thomas. Nibali was seen briefly on the ground, apparently knocked off his bike by an overzealous spectator, but chased desperately back into contact. Loud boos could be heard from the crowd, directed at Froome, but they seemed not to affect the Briton. Quintana made a small attack, then faded from sight.


It’s always a little funny to see the lightweight GC riders sprinting, especially after such a leg-buster of a stage, but Thomas looked downright fresh en-route to one of this Tour’s most prestigious wins. He’ll stay in yellow, with Froome ousting Dumoulin for second in the GC. Steven Kruijswijk held on for tenth, and earned the most combative award for his stellar solo effort.


No longer in the race is EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale’s Rigobeto Uran, who did not start today, possibly due to injuries sustained in a crash on stage 9. Fernando Gaviria, Andre Greipel, Rick Zabel, and Tony Gallopin all ended their races as well. In all, seven riders gave up hopes of reaching Paris today, making this the most costly stage of the tour so far.


With the way they dominated both this stage and the current GC podium, it appears that Sky might have it in the bag once again. But there are ten strong contenders left, all riding within five minutes of Thomas. Although none has as strong a team as Sky, things are far from over with some serious racing still to come.


Stage Analysis From Best Bike Split

To win a stage at the Tour de France atop Alpe d’Huez is be the crowning achievement of very few cyclists. Stage 12 at the Tour offers that chance, and the historical significance will mean the race is on. GC contenders will not only want to solidify their place in the overall standings but make history while doing so. Though preceded by two famous climbs where polka dot jersey points will be fought over, this stage will come down to a battle of the true contenders up Alpe d’Huez. At 13.8 km with an average grade of 8.1 percent, larger GC riders will struggle compared to their lighter counterparts, even at similar power levels.


The smaller GC contenders may want to work together to attack on sections where the road gets above 10 percent grade. A sustained, five-minute maximum effort on the steep 2 km section of the climb just 4.5 km from the summit should shake up the overall GC. In other words, if a little rider like Richie Porte (BMC) puts out 385 watts in this section, it would take a big rider like Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) nearly 440 watts to match the time.

Click on the predictive race plan below to see how key factors might affect the results from this stage.

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