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Team Sky have a lead to defend in the 2018 Tour de France general classification for the first time on Thursday, when Geraint Thomas will set off for Stage 12 with the yellow jersey.

Stage 12 is the third successive high-mountain stage and will see riders start in Bourg-Saint-Maurice and finish at Alpe d’Huez, a trek totalling 175.5 kilometres across some of the fiercest inclines in France.

Thibaut Pinot was fastest to finish in 2015, when Alpe d’Huez was last used as a stage venue, but a new champion of the climb will emerge on Thursday as the Frenchman is not racing in this year’s Tour.

Chris Froome sits second in the classification and one minute, 25 seconds off Team Sky team-mate Thomas, while Tom Dumoulin made the jump to third after he finished behind the Welshman in Stage 11:

Read on for a look at the Stage 12 route and a preview of the race, as well as a television schedule and live-stream information.

           

Date: Wednesday, July 18

UK TV Info: Eurosport 1 (12:05 a.m.-6 p.m. BST), ITV 4 (11 a.m.-5:15 p.m. BST)

U.S. TV Info: NBCSN, 6:30 a.m. ET

Live Stream: Eurosport Player, ITV Hub, NBC Sports App

        

Preview

Stage 12 will bring an end to the alpine phase of this year’s Tour and could be the segment in which we begin to see some riders officially lose hope of a result in the general classification.

The profile of the stage is daunting and features three category HC climbs, as well as one category 2 ascent. Alpe d’Huez has a reputation as a demanding finish for a reason and holds an 8.1 per cent incline over 13.8 kilometres:

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