Tour de France stage 18 preview

Stage 18 of the 2023 Tour de France has been officially categorized as "hilly." Still, it presents a relatively flat route heading northwest from the Alps, cutting through the gap between Lyon and Geneva and culminating at Bourg en Brasse. The finish promises to be fast and technical, featuring roundabouts and a sharp corner before a crucial right-hand turn onto the home straight, where the outcome of the stage will be decided.

Jasper Philipsen is the firm favorite to clinch his fifth stage victory in this Tour, having dominated the sprints thus far. His main competitors have diminished significantly at this point in the race:

  • Mark Cavendish withdrew due to a broken collarbone.
  • Caleb Ewan abandoned the race due to fatigue.
  • Wout van Aert left to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.

To secure his victory, Philipsen can rely on the support of the talented Mathieu van der Poel, who will lead his sprint train and position him perfectly for the finish.

For the current yellow jersey holder, Jonas Vingegaard, the stage offers an opportunity to recover his tired legs and avoid unnecessary trouble.

The stage is scheduled to begin at noon BST and is estimated to conclude around 4:30 pm. Philipsen's dominance in this race makes him appear almost invincible as a sprinter. This stage seems tailor-made for him.

However, Philipsen will still face some formidable opponents, such as Dylan Groenewegen, who possesses previous Tour stage wins, and Mads Pedersen, a former world champion who has already tasted success in stage eight.

There is a possibility of a breakaway forming and managing to stay ahead to claim victory among themselves. Given Philipsen's dominance, only a few teams are eager to see a sprint finish. As a result, his Alpecin-Deceuninck teammates will have to put in significant effort at the front of the peloton to reel in any breakaway attempts.