Today’s live coverage gets under way at 12.50pm (BST)
Bahrain Victorious team hotel raided by French police
Police searched the accommodation and team bus of the Bahrain Victorious team on the Tour de France on Wednesday after stage 17, a police source has told Reuters. The search was performed amid doping suspicions since last year, the source added.
No arrests were made and nothing was found at the team hotel. Officers searched through training records and were there for around an hour before leaving. It is not clear is anything was seized or not.
In response, Bahrain Victorioushave said they have “nothing to hide” and will take the start of today’s stage as planned.
In a team statement, Bahrain Victorious said: “On the eve of stage 18 of Tour de France, Team Bahrain Victorious were subject to an investigation by French Police. The team were monitored by a number of officers following their arrival after stage 17 to the team hotel in Pau.
“The investigation involved a search of riders’ rooms as part of the process. Despite being unaware of the investigation reasons, the team was also requested to provide all training files which were compiled and presented to the officers as requested.
Vladimir Miholjevic, the team’s technical director, added: “Following stage 17, we were greeted by several French police officers. We were not given a warrant to read through, but the team complied with all the officers’ requests.
“We are committed to highest level of professionalism and adherence to all regulatory requirements and will always be cooperating in a professional manner. The process had impacted our riders recovery and meal planning and as a professional team, the well being of our team is a key priority.”
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 18 at the Tour de France, the 129.7-kilometre run from Pau to Luz Ardiden.
Given what we saw on the final seven kilometres of the col de Portet, the third and final climb in yesterday’s stage, I think we can now, as if we did not already know, say that Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) will, barring disaster, be winning a second consecutive Tour title in Paris on Sunday. Who completes that podium, however, is far from certain while the mountains and points classifications are still up for grabs, as is today’s stage which includes not one, but two hors catégorie climbs. Before we look at today’s profile, here’s a quick reminder of who will be wearing what as respective leader in each of the four main classifications – in other words those that have jerseys. Pogacar has the maillot jaune, the leader’s yellow jersey, for a 10th day running with an almost unassailable margin of 5min 39sec.
Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) will again wear the maillot à pois, or polka dot jersey, as leader in the mountains classification, but has a certain young Slovenian breathing down his neck. Should Pogacar win today then he may, as he did last year, take home the polka-dots in addition to the yellow and white jerseys he is on course to win.
Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step) will again be dressed in the maillot vert, the green jersey, as leader in the points competition.
As overall leader of the race, Pogacar also tops the best young rider classification, although Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) will wear the Slovenian’s maillot blanc, the white jersey, as second best.
And for anybody that missed Pogacar’s summit finish victory on the Pyrenees on Wednesday, you can relive the highlights here . . .
So, what’s on today’s menu?
Featuring four categorised climbs – côte de Notre-Dame de Piétat, côte de Loucrup, col du Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden – and 3,561 metres in vertical elevation today’s stage is the final day in the mountains and, as such, will represent the last opportunity for many to attempt a stage win or to gain time on the general classification.
Here’s a look at the all-important numbers from those climbs . . .
. . . and a breakdown of what points can be won in the mountains.
But what about those who only have eyes for the green jersey?