Jonas Vingegaard shows his class before powering up final climb to all but secure Tour de France win

Jonas Vingegaard shows his class before powering up final climb to all but secure Tour de France win -  REUTERS
Jonas Vingegaard shows his class before powering up final climb to all but secure Tour de France win - REUTERS

It may well be the moment that comes to define this Tour de France; a simple handshake between two fierce competitors after one of the most astonishing sequences in recent history.

The ‘friendly’ rivalry between Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar reached new levels on Thursday as the pair thrashed it out one final time in the mountains.

At one stage, as they descended off the penultimate climb of the day, the Col de Spandelles, with Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) still trying desperately to break the elastic between himself and the race leader, Vingegaard skidded, wobbled, dropped his chain and unclipped one foot as he nearly came a huge cropper.

A fall at that point, let alone a bad injury, and the Dane’s 2:18 lead could have been wiped out in a flash. His Tour hopes hung in the balance. But he stayed upright.

Moments later, Pogacar took a left-hander too fast and ended up sprawled in the gravel at the side of the road. As the Slovenian jumped to his feet, his Lycra shorts ripped and bloody and his own Tour hopes now hanging in the balance, Vingegaard looked back up the road and then did something rather wonderful. He dropped his pace, freewheeling down the climb until his rival had regained his composure and his wheel.

The handshake that followed after Pogacar drew up alongside Vingegaard and acknowledged his act of sportsmanship was met with rapturous applause up on Hautacam where fans had gathered to watch their final showdown.

“Of course I waited for him,” Vingegaard explaind later. “Tadej went a bit too quick into one corner and he was out in the ditch and some gravel, then tried to get back on the road and the bike flipped.”

After the show of sportsmanship, the show of strength. On the final ascent of the hors categorie Hautacam, Vingegaard showed the legs many felt he might have shown the previous day on the climb up to the airstrip at Peyragudes when he instead followed Pogacar all the way to the finish.

This time, aided first by Jumbo-Visma team-mate Sepp Kuss and then by the race’s MVP, Wout van Aert, he was able to pull clear of Pogacar and ride the final four kilometres unchallenged. Pogacar, who had put in at least five fierce attacks on the Spandelles, had nothing left to give.

"There couldn't be a better way to lose the Tour de France than this," Pogacar said after rolling in 1:04 behind Vingegaard, to drop to 3:26 behind his rival overall. "I gave it my all today. I will leave the race with no regrets. There is still one stage left I might win before Paris, and I will push for it."

Pogacar was referring to Saturday's 40km time trial to Rocamadour, which comes after a flat stage on Fridat. Although Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) might have something to say about that.

The Welshman was again powerless to respond when Pogacar and Vingegaard were engaging in their fireworks, but he showed once again he was best of the rest with an excellent ride to finish fourth on the stage, 2:54 back.

His podium finish looks secure, which would be an excellent result, although he still found time to joke afterwards: “It’s all good training for the Commonwealths.”

Vingegaard all but seals yellow: As it happened. . .

04:39 PM

Pogacar loses over a minute

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) crosses the line 1min 3sec behind Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), before Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) finishes third. Vingegaard has increased his lead to 3min 26sec. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) finishes fourth, but now trails Vingegaard by eight minutes going into tomorrow's stage. The Welshman, however, leads David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) fairly comfortably with a margin of 3min 5sec over the Frenchman who moved above Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic).

04:37 PM

Vingegaard wins stage 18 at the Tour de France!

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) has done it, the Dane has won on the Hautacam to tighten his grip on the maillot jersey following a superb performance from his team-mates. Nathan Van Hooydonck and Tiesj Benoot both played their part, but the performance from Sepp Kuss and Wout van Aert on that final climb were otherworldly, particularly that of the maillot vert who managed to extend his lead further still in the points classification after finishing third.

Wout van Aert - REUTERS
Wout van Aert - REUTERS

Speaking on Eurosport, two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador praised Vingegaard: “I think this is incredible. It is very nice for cycling. I think this battle will be known for a long time. Today Vingegaard was the more strong rider of this Tour de France. Congratulations. We will see what happens, but I think the Tour is Vingegaard’s.

“Pogacar tried. It is normal that he attacked. If you don’t attack, you don’t know if the leader has a bad day or not. And the descent, one minute before there was a big mistake with Vingegaard who was close to a crash and the next it was Pogacar.”

04:36 PM

1km to go

Jonas Vingegaard is moments away from winning his second stage at this year's Tour de France, but more importantly he is about to extend his lead and all but seal his first maillot jaune.

Jonas Vingegaard is cheered on by the raucous crowds on the Hautacam - EPA
Jonas Vingegaard is cheered on by the raucous crowds on the Hautacam - EPA

04:34 PM

1.5km to go

Tadej Pogacar's jersey is unzipped, as it was last week when he lost the yellow jersey, a telltale sign he is struggling. Jonas Vingegaard has gained over 40sec now and will be taking a 3min+ lead into Saturday's time trial – a very healthy advantage.

04:32 PM

2km to go

Huge crowds on the upper slopes of the Hautacam, a tunnel of spectators cheering on the Tour de France champion elect.

Jonas Vingegaard -  REUTERS
Jonas Vingegaard - REUTERS

04:30 PM

3km to go

Jonas Vingegaard is finishing off the job here today, turning the screw on Tadej Pogacar. He has already gained 30sec on the Slovenian.

04:28 PM

3.5km to go

Tadej Pogacar bridges over to Wout van Aert, but the Belgian will just sit on the UAE Team Emirates man's wheel.

04:27 PM

4km to go

Tadej Pogacar trails Jonas Vingegaard by almost 20sec.

04:27 PM

4.5km to go – Pogacar cracks!

Wout van Aert pulls team-mate Jonas Vingegaard away from Tadej Pogacar. The defending champion just cannot respond and the Dane is riding towards certain victory.

Tadej Pogacar struggles off the back as Jumbo-Visma team-mates Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard press on - GETTY IMAGES
Tadej Pogacar struggles off the back as Jumbo-Visma team-mates Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard press on - GETTY IMAGES
Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert  - GETTY IMAGES
Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert - GETTY IMAGES

04:24 PM

5km to go

Sepp Kuss peels off, and after doing a huge turn on the front of the stage for the entirety of this climb, Wout van Aert takes over on the front for Jonas Vingegaard. He is absolutely burying himself here, what a display of power from the Belgian on, coincidentally, his national day.

Wout van Aert replaced Sepp Kuss  - AP
Wout van Aert replaced Sepp Kuss - AP

04:23 PM

5.5km to go

Wout van Aert peers over his left shoulder, it looks as if he is watching out for team-mate Jonas Vingegaard as he prepares to lend a helping hand to Sepp Kuss. Daniel Martínez drifts off the front.

04:21 PM

6km to go

Sepp Kuss, as is his wont, is barely breathing as continues to drag the main protagonists from this quite thrilling edition of the Tour de France ever closer to the line. The trio is 24sec off the pace of Wout van Aert and Daniel Martínez now. Is Tadej Pogacar going to chuck on final haymaker?

04:17 PM

7km to go

Alexey Lutsenko and Carlos Verona are swooped up by the maillot jaune's group as Sepp Kuss focuses on his high cadence, while Geraint Thomas is dropped. They trail stage leaders Wout van Aert and Daniel Martínez by 29sec.

04:14 PM

8km to go

Wout van Aert and Daniel Martínez lead what is now a four-man maillot jaune group – Sepp Kuss, Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogacar and Geraint Thomas – by 1min 1sec.

04:13 PM

8.5km to go

Wout van Aert rises out of his saddle, stamping down on his pedals on this hard Pyrenean climb.

04:12 PM

9.2km to go

And Wout van Aert attacks! The Belgian distances Thibaut Pinot, only Daniel Martínez is able to follow the wheels of this Swiss Army knife of a rider – he can do it all.

04:11 PM

9.3km to go

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan) and Carlos Verona (Movistar) are 33sec behind stage leaders Wout van Aert, Daniel Martínez and Thibaut Pinot, while the maillot jaune is another 30sec down the road.

04:09 PM

10km to go

Louis Meintjes is hanging in there with the race leaders and has, I understand, moving up the general classification again. And as soon as that was typed, the South African is dropped.

04:07 PM

11km to go

Sepp Kuss, the wonderful mountain domestique who has come into his own in the Pyrenees, has closed the gap on stage leaders Thibaut Pinot, Wout van Aert and Daniel Martínez: 1min 40sec.

Sepp Kuss sits on the front ahead of Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar  - REUTERS
Sepp Kuss sits on the front ahead of Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar - REUTERS

04:04 PM

12km to go

Thibaut Pinot is out of his saddle, the Frenchman who sounded despondent following yesterday's stage is attempting to shake off Daniel Martínez and Wout van Aert. In the following group, Tiesj Benoot peels off allowing team-mate Sepp Kuss to take over pulling ahead of Jonas Vingegaard, with Tadej Pogacar at third wheel. Following the spills and thrills on the descent of the Spandelles, this is the last chance for any serious assault on the maillot jaune. Does Pogacar have what it takes? Is Vingegaard ready for the expected onslaught, or will he be the one landing the knock-out punch?

04:00 PM

13km to go

Thibaut Pinot, Wout van Aert and Daniel Martínez lead the stage as it hits the Hautacam. The maillot jaune trails by 2min 28sec.

03:57 PM

14km to go

Now approaching the beginning of the final climb of the Tour de France, Jona Vingegaard has team-mates Tiesj Benoot and Sepp Kuss for company, alongside Tadej Pogacar, Geraint Thomas, Louis Meintjes, Valentin Madouas and Hugo Houle.

03:54 PM

17.5km to go

The fight appears to have fizzled out of the action at the front of the stage, for now at least. A couple of minutes ago Tadej Pogacar was spotted chatting with his team, and it didn't look too cordial. Be fascinating to know what was said.

03:48 PM

21km to go

Just heard from my colleague Tom Cary who is on the summit of the Hautacam. Apparently, there was spontaneous applause from the gathered crowds as Vingegaard and Pogacar shook hands following that act of sportsmanship a few minutes ago.

03:44 PM

28.8km to go – Pogacar crashes!

Perhaps taking a risk too many in an effort to pile the pressure onto his rival, Tadej Pogacar loses his line on a left-hand bend before crashing.

In a superb act of sportsmanship, Jonas Vingegaard eases off and waits for Pogacar once the Slovenian was back in the saddle, waiting for him to catch back up.

Jonas Vingegaard - AP
Jonas Vingegaard - AP

One reunited, the pair shook hands.

Vingegaard shakes hands with Tadej Pogacar
Vingegaard shakes hands with Tadej Pogacar

03:41 PM

31km to go – Vingegaard wobbles!

Jonas Vingegaard has, for the first time in almost three weeks, shown a small sign of weakness. Once onto the descent, Tadej Pogacar pressed on with the Dane on his wheel, although after the maillot jaune's front wheel looked to lock up he needed to readjust himself. Against the odds, Vingegaard manages to stay upright to keep his Tour ambitions alive.

03:39 PM

33.3km to go

Over the top of the Spandelles goes Wout van Aert to add 10 points to his tally in the mountains classification, but that will not concern the Belgian today. A few people have asked why has Van Aert been riding so hard on the front today? Well, I suspect he is thinking that if he sets a fast pace it will deter others to attack Jonas Vingegaard while putting himself in the ideal position to help his team-mate when they are reunited later in the stage.

03:34 PM

34.5km to go

For the first time in three weeks, a few minor gaps are showing between Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard with each additional stamp on the cranks from the defending champion. Remember, Wout van Aert is up the road ready and able to help his team-mate Vingegaard.

03:32 PM

35km to go

A huge acceleration from Tadej Pogacar creates a small gap between these two heavyweights, but Jonas Vingegaard closes the gap. That burst of power and pace was enough to pull back Geraint Thomas who now looks to be struggling.

03:30 PM

36km to go – Thomas attacks!

Geraint Thomas, for the first time in almost three weeks, has attacked. The Welshman drifts off up the road, but there is no reaction from Tadej Pogacar. Jonas Vingegaard appears to gesture to his team-mate Sepp Kuss as if to tell him to chase the Ineos Grenadiers man down. Thomas has team-mate Daniel Martínez up the road.

Geraint Thomas - GETTY IMAGES
Geraint Thomas - GETTY IMAGES

03:27 PM

36.5km to go

Following a brief regrouping of some of the general classification contenders, Tadej Pogacar swings another punch, but fails to land one on Jonas Vingegaard who appears the have the measure of the defending champion.

03:25 PM

37km to go

The three-man maillot jaune group is nearing Louis Meintjes and picked up a number of stragglers from the earlier breakaway. Alexandr Riabushenko (Astana Qazaqstan), rather generously, gives Tadej Pogacar a cold shower as he squirts the defending champion down with a cold bidon.

03:22 PM

38km to go

Sepp Kuss has danced up the climb and onto the wheel of his team-mate Jonas Vingegaard. The American gets on his radio, no doubt messaging his team car letting them know the situation.

03:20 PM

39km to go – Pogacar attacks!

Tadej Pogacar rises out of his saddle and attacks the maillot jaune, but once again Jonas Vingegaard is able to respond. The move came 6km from the summit of the Spandelles and we till have the entire 13.9km of the Hautacam to climb. I say 'we', obviously I mean they.

03:18 PM

39.5km to go

Romain Bardet (DSM) and Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) are struggling to hold the wheels of the maillot jaune group as splits start to appear.

03:16 PM

40km to go

Like a yo-yo, Louis Meintjes has dropped down the virtual standings after Nairo Quintana and the maillot jaune group pushed on. They trail the stage leaders by 2min 46sec now,  with Meintjes at 2min 11sec.

03:13 PM

41km to go

Nathan Van Hooydonck peels off from the maillot jaune's group , leaving Brandon McNulty to take over on the front ahead of team-mate Tadej Pogacar. Race leader Jonas Vingegaard has just Sepp Kuss for company now, although the American is actually sat on his leader's wheel. Wout van Aert is doing a huge turn at the front of the race. Tiesj Benoot is also in the leading group, so Vingegaard may be able to lean on them later on this afternoon.

03:10 PM

42km to go

The stage leaders are entering new territory now as the Tour hits the category one Spandelles for the first time in the race's history. Enric Mas (Movistar) has been dropped by the Louis Meintjes group, not great for the Spaniard who may lose his 10th spot on general classification to Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan) later today. The Kazakh rider, by the way, is in the leading group.


03:05 PM

43km to go

Louis Meintjes has Enric Mas (Movistar), Luis León Sánchez (Bahrain Victorious), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) and  Chris Hamilton (DSM) for company on the descent. They have lost some time to the stage leaders, but lead the maillot jaune by around 2min 20sec.

03:01 PM

47km to go

Nairo Quintana's Arkéa-Samsic team-mates are helping the Colombian down this climb, riding hard on the front in an attempt to close the gap on Louis Meintjes. Almost immediately, Tadej Pogacar follows and squeezes in at second wheel, Jonas Vingegaard follows and takes third wheel. Is this an early sign of hostilities?

02:58 PM

50km to go

Following a short climb, the road drops down again towards the bottom of the second climb of the day, the category one Spandelles. Unlike yesterday, there are barely any valley roads connecting the climbs today meaning that as soon as they reach the bottom, it will be time to start climbing once again. There is not a single moment to relax and concentration will be key, especially if your name is Jonas Vingegaard and are expecting to be attacked.

02:54 PM

55km to go

Tom Pidcock has been spotted riding alongside a Movistar and B&B Hotels-KTM rider, the trio are some distance off the front of the race.

02:47 PM

58.5km to go

Descending off the Aubisque, the stage leaders appear to be taking things relatively smoothly on the narrow, twisty roads. Thankfully the road is dry and appears  to be in decent condition.

02:42 PM

63km to go

Giulio Ciccone added another 20 points to his tally in the mountains classification a few minutes ago, taking him to within three points of competition leader Simon Geschke who has well and truly popped. Now onto the descent, the stage leaders have an advantage of around 3min 30sec on the maillot jaune.

02:38 PM

66.5km to go

It has just been confirmed that, as it stands, Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) has moved up to fourth overall in the virtual general classification. He has had a miserable few years, but the South African arrived at the Tour de France in, arguably, the best form of his life and is now on course for his best finish in a grand tour – he has twice finished eighth at the Tour (2016 and 2017).

02:34 PM

67.5km to go

Jonas Vingegaard has Jumbo-Visma team-mates Nathan Van Hooydonck and Sepp Kuss leading him up this hors catégorie climb, while Tadej Pogacar has just Brandon McNulty for company. Beautiful sunny day out in the Pyrenees this afternoon.


02:30 PM

69km to go

Louis Meintjes has Joe Dombrowski (Astana Qazaqstan) for company, the duo having gained 1min 30sec which, as it stands, would see him leapfrog Romain Bardet (DSM) to sixth on general classification. Should he gains another 30sec or so he may move above David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) in the virtual general classification, while Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) may also be worried about his fourth spot should the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux keep making gains.

02:24 PM

70km to go

Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) has gained 50sec on the maillot jaune's group, but the South African climber is still a minute down on the stage leaders. Looks like Enric Mas (Movistar) is in the front group, as is Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious). By contrast, it looks as if Simon Geschke has popped. That looks like his challenge for the polka dot jersey may be ending today.

02:18 PM

72.5km to go

Giulio Ciccone is back in the leading group which is now comprised of around 23 riders.

02:16 PM

73.7km to go

Quite a bit of excitement as Tadej Pogacar moves off the front of the maillot jaune's group . . . before everybody realises he was just off the get a bottle or gel. Geraint Thomas, by the way, has team-mate Adam Yates alongside him, although I have been hearing from my colleague Tom Cary that the Bury-man was feeling a little under the weather ahead of today's stage.

02:12 PM

75km to go

Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates), who has had a disappointing Tour following his late call-up, is riding some distance off the rear of the peloton. Giulio Ciccone is part of a three-man group at the front of the race alongside Trek-Segafredo team-mate Bauke Mollema and Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech), the Italian clearly off in pursuit of the mountains points. Back in the reduced maillot jaune group, Jonas Vingegaard has just one team-mate – Sepp Kuss – for company, while Tadej Pogacar is supported by Brandon McNulty.

02:04 PM

77km to go

The maillot jaune is inching its way up this tough ascent of the Aubisque. Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) has attacked from the peloton, no doubt looking to climb the general classification, while up the road a massive group leads the stage by 17sec. Simon Geschke is in the second group on the road, with the maillot jaune another minute back.

Col d'Aubisque
Col d'Aubisque

01:54 PM

82km to go

Simon Geschke has peeled off the front of the peloton as it hits the bottom of the Aubisque. A number of riders, including Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) are sat on the German's wheel, but the race has completely splintered. It is utter chaos.

01:48 PM

84.7km to go

Wout van Aert wins the intermediate sprint, of course he does.

01:45 PM

90km to go

The 32-man breakaway has a lead of just 30sec, though I suspect that will splinter once it reaches the first climb of the day, the hors catégorie Aubisque. Cofidis are still working hard to try and get their man onto the move of the day, but I fear they have missed the boat.

01:40 PM

Bauer in car-crash TV moment

Nasty moment for Jack Bauer (BikeExchange-Jayco) who went straight into the back of a UAE Team Emirates team car. The support vehicle appeared to slow as the road narrowed, while a press motorbike squeezed the gap down the left-hand side meaning the Kiwi was unable to round the car.


Angry words were exchanged, but the rider is back in his saddle now.

01:36 PM

96km to go

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) has managed to get into the leading group on the road which has grown to 31-strong now. They are around 10km from the intermediate sprint.

01:32 PM

98.5km to go

More and more riders have bridged over to the leading group on the road, but the peloton does not look too keen on allowing them all their day in the sun.

01:30 PM

100km to go

The leading group has grown out to 21 riders. Plenty of teams represented, but sadly for Cofidis Simon Geschke was unable to make the move. They lead by just 30sec at the moment.

01:24 PM

104km to go

A big group of 16 riders has finally gone off up the road. Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma), Stan Dewulf (Ag2r-Citroën), Daniel Martínez (Ineos Grenadiers), Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers) and Marco Haller (Bora-Hansgrohe) are all in there, but it is not looking entirely organised just now and another group looks to be chasing.

01:20 PM

107.5km to go

Simon Geschke managed to escape from the clutches of the peloton along with a decent-sized group, but no sooner had they bridged over to the breakaway had the maillot jaune's group closed them down. Wout van Aert soon counter-attacked, but again he was then reunited with the main bunch. Today represents a bit of a last-chance saloon for lots of teams who have failed to make a mark on this year's race and so it is not that surprising to see such infernal racing so early.

01:13 PM

112.5km to go

Cofidis have taken over on the front of the peloton, no doubt attempting to get Simon Geschke into the breakaway. The German really needs to take some points atop the Aubisque and Spandelles if he wants to win the polka dot jersey, that is assuming he cannot pull off a surprise stage win today and take 20 points on the Hautacam.

01:05 PM

120km to go

A six-man breakaway comprising Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyPost), Stan Dewulf (Ag2r-Citroën), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto-Soudal), Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), Andreas Leknessund (DSM) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) has gained 18sec on the peloton. Some interesting names in there, but am thinking they will be attempting to get into this move in the hope of dropping back to help their team-mates later in the afternoon.

Stan Dewulf rides on the front of the breakaway - GETTY IMAGES
Stan Dewulf rides on the front of the breakaway - GETTY IMAGES

01:00 PM

125km to go

Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates), who played a key role for team-mate Tadej Pogacar yesterday, has been spotted off the rear of the peloton. The Norwegian may be paying a heavy price for riding on the front for so long, or perhaps he had had an early mechanical? Only time will tell. At the other end of the race, Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) has shifted to the front and is riding hard alongside five others.

12:55 PM

131.3km to go

Stan Dewulf, one of just three Ag2r-Citroën riders still in the race, has bridged over to Wout van Aert. The green jersey, though, looks determined to push on. It has been another fast start to racing today.

Tour de France 2022, stage 18: Live updates as Jonas Vingegaard faces his final mountain test - AP
Tour de France 2022, stage 18: Live updates as Jonas Vingegaard faces his final mountain test - AP

12:50 PM

As it stands . . .

And that man Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) attacked from the flag and the man dressed head-to-tow in green is on his lonesome. Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) are in pursuit at around 5sec, with the peloton another 10sec down the road.

11:35 AM


And welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 18 of the 109th Tour de France, the 143.2-kilometre run from Lourdes to Hautacam.

After 17 days of racing, today is the final mountain stage when, one suspects, second-placed Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) will be crossing himself as he heads out from Lourdes before throwing one final Hail Mary in an attempt to disrobe race leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) of his maillot jaune. Pogacar, of course, did his best to do so yesterday, but Vingegaard was able to match the two-time Tour winner pedal stroke for pedal stroke and although he missed out on the stage win, he will have been buoyed after passing his latest test.

Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar - tour de france 2022 stage 18 live updates results pogacar vingegaard - REUTERS
Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar - tour de france 2022 stage 18 live updates results pogacar vingegaard - REUTERS

Following today's stage there will in all likelihood be just one more stage – Saturday's time trial – in which Pogacar can make up time on Vingegaard, although when you look at their head-to-head records there is not too much to separate the two. When Pogacar blew away the field to win last year's stage five time trial from Changé to Laval Espace Mayenne, over 27.2km, Vingegaard was third at 27sec. Saturday's time trial is longer at 40.7km, though has a similar profile to last year's first time trial. Should Vingegaard ​make it to the summit of the Hautacam today, where his compatriot Bjarne Riis infamously won in 1996, and lose no more than a minute to Pogacar, then his ascension to Tour de France champion will, surely, be assured.

Jonas Vingegaard - AP
Jonas Vingegaard - AP

As mentioned, Vingegaard will be dressed in the maillot jaune, the leader's yellow jersey, for a sixth day running and leads by 2min 18sec.

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) mathematically secured the points classification when he finished second in the intermediate sprint on Wednesday behind Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck). All the Belgian needs to do now is complete the Tour in Paris on Sunday to seal the competition, and so will once again be dressed in the maillot vert.

Simon Geschke (Cofidis) will remain dressed in the maillot à pois, or the polka dot jersey, as the leader of the mountains classification. The 36-year-old, however, will more than likely need to get into the day's breakaway if he is to become the first German to seal the competition.

Two-time Tour winner Pogacar, who has led the young rider classification since stage one, will be dressed in the white jersey.

So, what's on today's menu?

Similarly to yesterday's stage, all of the categorised climbs are back-ended into the last half of the short-ish Pyrenean stage. Three climbs – Aubisque, Spandelles and Hautacam – will shape the outcome of the stage and, probably, the eventual outcome of the final maillot jaune of the race. Unlike yesterday, however, there are two hors catégorie climbs where team-mates and numbers may prove crucial. There has been no French winners at this year's race and so we may see some aggressive racing from the home riders this afternoon, while a few teams will be hoping to get into a breakaway. Whether or not they are allowed to go all the way to the line will depend on how generous Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates are feeling, or indeed how desperate they are for another stage win and some more bonus seconds on the line. Either way, it should be another blockbuster of a stage and Telegraph Sport will be bring you all the action right from the flag.

Tour de France 2022, stage 18 profile
Tour de France 2022, stage 18 profile

There are a maximum of 50 points available to any one rider in the mountains classification and so we may see the likes of Geschke and Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) attempting to get into the breakaway.

The points competition is all but wrapped up by Van Aert, but I would not be surprised to see the Jumbo-Visma man back in another breakaway, though mainly to act as a satellite rider for team-mate Vingegaard later in the day. However, with a modern-day record up for grabs the Belgian may be targeting more points.

And finally, the weather. . .

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