Favorites stage 18 Giro d'Italia 2024 | Sprinters, watch out for that third-week boobytrap! Cycling

Favorites stage 18 Giro d'Italia 2024 | Sprinters, watch out for that third-week boobytrap!

Favorites stage 18 Giro d'Italia 2024 | Sprinters, watch out for that third-week boobytrap!

The Giro organization isn't that cruel. After a grueling block in the Dolomites, the Giro d'Italia participants get a day to recover during a transitional stage from Fiera di Primiero to Padova. The route will feature more downhill than uphill, but even so, a flat stage in the final week of the Giro always carries some danger. IDLProCycling.com tells you all about it!

Course stage 18 Giro d'Italia 2024

Favorites stage 18 Giro d'Italia 2024 | Sprinters, watch out for that third-week boobytrap!

The riders kick off in Fiera di Primiero at an elevation of 694 meters and conclude in Padova at 15 meters above sea level. Given the overall descent, anyone quick with numbers will realize the route predominantly slopes downhill, which will be a relief to the peloton after a few very challenging days in the Dolomites.

The race begins with a swift 15-kilometer descent, leading into the day’s sole categorized climb: Lamon, stretching 3.5 kilometers with a 5.6 percent gradient. After reaching the summit around the 18-kilometer mark, the course continues its descent to the intermediate sprint in Valdobbiadene. The road briefly ascends there, although it's hardly significant.

After covering 112 kilometers, the route reaches Treviso, host of last year’s World Gravel Championships. From Treviso, the final 65 kilometers flatten out completely, leading straight to the finish in Padova. It's been since 2000 — when Ivan Quaranta clinched a victory — that we last had a finish in this city, though it’s also a known finishing spot for the Giro del Veneto.

Moving on to the final segment: precisely ten kilometers from the end, the course turns right, initiating a long, straight nine-kilometer stretch. While it may appear to be a simple sprint to the finish, the final kilometer holds a twist with two challenging turns that could impact the race's outcome.

Approaching the final kilometer, riders encounter a left turn at a roundabout, quickly followed by another roundabout within a few hundred meters. Then, a sharp right-hand turn awaits them 500 meters from the finish, leading into the final straight, which is nine meters wide.

finale 18

17.6 km: Lamon (3.5 km at 5.6%)

Start: 1:10 PM
Finish: around 5:13 PM

Weather stage 18 Giro d'Italia 2024

Unlike the past few days, the riders shouldn’t have much to fear in terms of the weather conditions. Heading towards Padova, it’s 23 degrees Celsius and the wind is not very strong, although there's still a slight chance of rain.

Favorites stage 18 Giro d'Italia 2024

Olav Kooij (Visma | Lease a Bike), Fabio Jakobsen (dsm-firmenich PostNL), Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious), Danny van Poppel (BORA-hansgrohe) and so forth... They’ve all gone home, but given the large number of sprinters that started this Giro d'Italia, there are theoretically still plenty of fast men left. And they likely survived the tough mountains for a reason...

We first think of Jonathan Milan of Lidl-Trek, who can certainly be called the best sprinter of this Tour of Italy so far. The strong Italian seems to have the fastest legs and also has the best lead-out, although he is of course depending on teammates like Simone Consonni, Edward Theuns and Jasper Stuyven to perform at their best level. So far, however, they’ve consistently done well.

The three major competitors are Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step), Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and UAE rider Juan Sebastian Molano, who have proven in the recent past that they can win grand tour stages and also came close to beating Milan in this Giro. Merlier and Groves can fully rely on their team's support, while Milan is obviously riding on a high with his team.

tim merlier

Last season, Alberto Dainese (now Tudor, but at the time representing dsm-firmenich) unexpectedly won the final sprint before Rome. Such a performance would come as a surprise again this season, as he has been fading a bit during the race. To some extent, this is also true for former top sprinters Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) and Caleb Ewan of Jayco AlUla: the Colombian often goes for it too early, while the Aussie struggles to follow his lead-out.

Moving on to the men who we've seen in honorary finishes in the most recent sprints. On a day when everything falls into place, a stage win should be possible for them, but even so, anyone on this list of names will already be very content with a place in the top five: Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ), Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Cofidis), Giovanni Lonardi (Polti-Kometa), Madis Mikhels (Intermarché-Wanty), Tim van Dijke (Visma | Lease a Bike), Davide Ballerini (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Hugo Hofstetter (Israel-Premier Tech) and Tobias Lund Andresen (dsm-firmenich PostNL).

Perhaps some of them will attempt an early breakaway, as this strategy traditionally has a surprisingly high chance of success in flat stages in the last week of the Giro. Just think back to 2022, when Dries De Bondt achieved the biggest victory of his career in this exact way, as did Josef Cerny in 2020 and Damiano Cima in 2019. Should it come to that during this edition, we think riders like Michael Valgren (EF), Andrea Vendrame (Decathlon AG2R), Edoardo Affini (Visma | Lease a Bike) and Mirco Maestri (Polti-Kometa) could pull something off, as could Filippo Ganna (INEOS), of course.

Favorites stage 18 Giro d'Italia 2024, according to IDLProCycling.com

Top favorites: Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) and Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step)
Outsiders: Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE-Team Emirates), Caleb Ewan (Jayco AlUla) and Fernando Gaviria (Movistar)
Long shots: Alberto Dainese (Tudor), Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ), Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Cofidis), Giovanni Lonardi (Polti-Kometa), Tim van Dijke (Visma | Lease a Bike), Davide Ballerini (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Hugo Hofstetter (Israel-Premier Tech), Madis Mikhels (Intermarché-Wanty),Tobias Lund Andresen (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers)


Who will win stage 18 of the Giro?

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