• Steven Kruijswijk (C) of LottoNL-Jumbo will be well protected by his team on Stage 18 (ANSA)Source: ANSA
There are just a single question to be answered on the madcap finale set for Stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia - can race leader Steven Kruijswijk again survive a sure to be launched assault on his position by his remaining rivals?
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Giro d'Italia
26 May 2016 - 8:44 AM 

On paper it looks like one for the breakaway specialists so there will be lots of action early to be in the front group with the prospect of a stage victory ahead, while the General Classification riders wait to fight their battles in the final kilometres.

After running flat for 170km, this stage will have a more challenging finale. The route initially runs across the entire north-western Po Plain, from Milano to Torino, along mainly straight and wide roads.

The stage course cuts across a few major cities, where the usual street furniture are to be found and hopefully won't have an undesirable impact on the peloton.

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After reaching Pinerolo (and clearing Colletta di Cumiana), the route takes a first pass over the finish line, climbs up the steep Via dei Principi d’Acaja stretch, tackles the Pramartino climb (4.6km with an average 10.4 per cent gradient) and goes back to Pinerolo, to cover the last 3km, after a very technical descent.

 

2500 metres before the finish, the route turns left and climbs up Via Principi d’Acaja (450 metres with an average 14 per cent gradient and peaks of 20 percent, on setts-paved and narrow road).

Next is a steep and harsh descent leading into Pinerolo. The last 1500 metres run on level roads, with just a few bends and a short stretch on stone-slab paving.

The finish line is set at the end of an 8 metre wide, 350 metre long asphalt home straight.

So far Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) has proved impregnable with no hint of weakness but all it takes is one bad day or miscalculation during the tricky finale and it could be game over for the Dutchman.