Tour de France 2015 stage 18: Gap - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

The 186,5 kilometer long stage 18 of the Tour de France 2015 starts in Gap and ends in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, being the 2nd of 4 consecutive mountain stages in the Alps. As the stage starts with riding up the 6.3 kilometer incline up to the cat. 2 Col Bayard (6,3 km á 7%), and sprinters will have a really difficult day today, starting with kilometers uphill steepest before the end. With probably many wanting to be in a breakaway (due to KOM points, time on TV, stage win etc.), the speed will be high from the start.
After the Col Bayard, the road goes downhill and it goes up and down with cat. 3 mountain sprints on Rampe du Motty (2,3 km á 8,3%), côte de La Mure (2,7 km á 7,5%), Col de Malissol (2 km á 8,7%), all short hills not very steep.
All these cat. 3 sprints is concluded with a category 2 climb, the Col de la Morte, being fairly similar with the already ridden cat. 3 mountains, being 3,1 kilometers long with an incline of 8,4%. That mountain sprint in an altitude of 1368 meters, and a 15 km descent follows to Séchilliene, 1 kilometer lower (altitude of Séchilienne). At this point 100 kilometers have been ridden, over half of the stage. A points sprint a few kilometes after Séchilienne, which will most likely be contested by a breakaway, lies in Rioupéroux. The first real obstacle for the GC contenders will be the Col du Glandon, 21,7 kilometers long with an incline of 5,1%. Doesn’t seem like much, but looking at the profile of the climb, will give you another picture.

Col du Glandon has been raced 13 times in the Tour de France prior tomorrow. The first to cross this mountain was the Polish rider Edward Klabinski in the 1947 Tour de France, but when the Tour was finished, he was 34th (53 finished the race), 4 hours, 6 minutes and 36 seconds behind the Tour winner Jean Robic. In other editions Col du Glandon has featured in, the 6-time winner of the KOM competition and winner of the 1976 edition, Lucien van Impe has crossed over as the first, so has the 7-times KOM jersey winner Richard Virenque in the nineties. A 19 kilometer long descent follows, and as a last bump on the road, we got the Lacets de Montvernier approximately 15 kms before the finish line in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne (profile below), before the road goes down and flattens out in the end.

Will this be another day for the break? Will Contador try to make up for todays catastrophe? Will Froome show any signs of weakness? Will Quintana manage to break Froome? The answers will be clear in 24 hours time..

Top 10 GC standings before the stage:
1. Froome
2. Quintana + 3’10
3. Valverde + 4’09
4. Thomas + 6’34
5. Contador + 6’40
6. Gesink + 7’39
7. Nibali + 8’04
8. Frank + 8’47
9. Mollema + 11’47
10. Barguil +13’08

Top 5 KOM competition before the stage:
1. Froome 61
2. Rodriguez 52
3. Fuglsang 41
4. Richie Porte 40
5. Pauwels 40

Enjoy this short video I found of the Glandon:

EDIT number 1000: sir fly posted this nice video in this thread showing the Lacets de Montvernier, and credit to him for finding it!

Someone asked about the weather, and here's some weather forecasts for Col du Glandon tomorrow:

Aug 16, 2013
Come on Purito! Be in the break!

Contador and Nibbles with a full ***** attack on the Glandon.
Re: Tour de France 2015 stage 18: Gap - Saint-Jean-de-Maurie

J.Rod should win this stage.Maybe Uran,Majka and one of the Yates will go for it too.
Sky train to drive the GC group over the Glandon with Stannard at the front :D
Apr 15, 2013

infeXio said:
Could be chaos from the start again
Yeah, we should see a fair bit of attacking from the start and guys already not in top shape will just be pushed back straight from the start. Should quiet down once a proper breakaway is gone. If Movistar want a stage win, this could be it for Valverde so they might chase, same for a Nibali who has no chance in the 2 following big MTFs..

Most likely though is a scenario somewhat similar to today's, without the theatrality of TVG's illness.
Great stage design. There won't be any action among GC guys but watching breakaway will be fun. Climbers attacking on Glandon (like Majka's 50km attack), puncheurs trying to follow, fast finishers hanging on to dear life.
Think Sagan can finally get a win here.

Afrank said:
You had this OP ready to go, didn't you? ;)
I've noticed that some have not been satisfied about the OPs the last couple of days, so had a look on some Tour 2011 stage threads, that have been praised and got inspired :p So yeah, it was ready to go, was just waiting to include the GC standings!
Perhaps I'll do the next stages also, since I've got the time having caught a cold these days ;)