After Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) took a big step towards overall victory in the Giro d'Italia by limiting his losses on Tuesday's time trial, and then finished safely in the bunch on a trick stage 17, stage 18 sees a return to the mountains
The stage start on the outskirts on Milan in the town of Abbiategrasso and makes its south-west across the Po Valley towards a summit finish in the ski resort of Prato Nervoso.
The first 170km of the stage are almost completely flat, only being interrupted by a small fourth-category climb at Novello, before the race will be decided on the final ascent.
This is the first of three mountain stages that will decide the final destination of the pink jersey in Rome, with Simon Yates hold an advantage of nearly a minute over Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).
Dumoulin will be hoping to pick away at Yates's lead over the next few days, and will take confidence from the way that he took victory in a similar stage of last year's Giro d'Italia in Oropa.
>>> Five talking points from stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia
The steady nature of the final climb could also suit Chris Froome (Team Sky) who will be hoping to leapfrog Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) in the fight for the third step on the podium.
After today's stage, stages 19 and 20 are more complicated with multiple climbs on the race profile. Stage 19 looks particularly tough including the Cima Coppi on the gravel climb Colle delle Finestre - the highest point in the 2018 race - before a summit finish to Bardonecchia.
Catch-up with highlights of stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia above, or read the full race report of the day’s action here.
The 2018 Giro d’Italia concludes in Rome on May 27.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Multitalent Zoe Bäckstedt joins EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
‘I can't wait to start racing for them later this year,’ the 17-year-old Welshwoman says
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
Five talking points from stage seven of the Giro d'Italia 2022
What we learned from the hardest day of the race so far
By Adam Becket • Published