Giro d'Italia Stage 18 Preview: The Mountains Continue

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Giro d'Italia Stage 18 Preview: The Mountains Continue
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The likelihood of a sprinter’s stage on Wednesday gives us a few opportunities to prepare for Wednesday’s Stage 18 at the Giro d'Italia. Tuesday showed another card as Primoz Roglic was not as rested as thought. He lost some time on Joao Almeida and Geraint Thomas.

The big story is that almost 50 riders have now had to leave the race, giving us a better chance for GC races here. With only three leading contenders, it creates some predictable bets. However, there is some danger here. Why? Form still feels like it could be fleeting here. This top trio has some climbers salivating.

To get you ready for your cycling betting, we look early at Thursday's Stage 18 mountain stage. The riders will long for Stage 17 after this.

Breaking Down This Stage 18

When Giro designers pondered this final week, they did not want a repeat of last year’s Stage 18. There is little easy about this stage. Though it is only 161 kilometers, the first 30 are primarily flat. After that quick jaunt, the punches keep on coming for riders. 

This stage features several thousand meters of total climbing. The last third of the stage feels like a good deal of undulations. The Forcella Cibiana is an aggressive climb where the first five kilometers average 9.8%. The descent is a plunging one will technical turns. If the weather is any way inclement, riders will have to be extra careful. 

The stage philosophy here is going to be daunting. Remember what is to come. Stage 19 is nasty, and 20 features one of the more sinister mountain time trials. Look at the final climb up to the Zoldo. This is a 15.4-kilometer climb where there is an actual downhill section. However, don't fret. There are two max areas of 10% or greater. One is 19% which should be a springboard.

So, again watch out for some changeable weather. It has been a staple of this Giro. Even Stage 16 looked bright, and then a thundershower danced right on Mount Baldone. 

Some Riders To Look For

Fortunately, Stage 18 has some concerns for bettors because of what is to come again. Tre Cime de Lavaredo rises over 2,300 meters and has a maximum gradient of 18%. Those final three kilometers make for one miserable summit finish. Riders surely are keeping that in mind along with Stage 18.

Again, does Jay Vine do more work for Joao Almeida here, or does Vine go on the attack? He is going to be in the 21.00 to 31.00 range. The rest on Wednesday could serve him well. Ben Healy will be in the mix, along with Branden McNulty. 

Is Stage 18 more for a General Classification shakeup or the truest climbers? That’s a great question. It may be a mix of both. Again, Stage 19 looms and the time trial creates different options. Betting Almeida at 17.00 on Tuesday before the stage was pure luck. He won’t be at that level come Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.

Thankfully, temperatures are a hair milder for Thursday on the forecast. Some riders are very much looking forward to this racing ending already. 

Final Words And Predictions

The books are starting to waver on Roglic. Again, the wild card is, did Roglic try to pace himself deliberately before realizing the damage was worsening? Roglic needs time, and that ending time trial does not suit him. There is danger and trouble. 

Expect some numbers to shift. Ours represent current form, plus a mindful eye on what will come Friday and Saturday. 

Here is our projected early table of the favourites and where their odds may lie. 

RiderOdds
Ben Healy7.00
Joao Almeida8.00
Thibault Pinot9.50
Branden McNulty11.00
Primoz Roglic13.00
Hugh Carthy17.00
Geraint Thomas19.00

Again, expect some chaos, but few would be surprised by a long shot like Gee or perhaps a Carthy here, along with the usual suspects. 

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Chris Wassel

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