At 222.5 km long, Stage 18 is the second longest stage in the entire tour, and figures to add a bit of intrigue to the closing of the race as well. The route between Blagnac and Brive-la-Gaillarde shines for sprinters who can get out ahead over the first 117 km before the hills kick in. It should make for a wild finish, as the final 10 km are virtually all downhill (full details of the map are here).
The layout of this stage begs for a sprint finish and it will be the question of whose legs are still able to hold up after such a long stage this deep into the race. But 14 teams are still without a victory, and although it appears Bradley Wiggins is quite close to locking up a victory, there are still some individual chances for glory left.
Coverage of the 2012 Tour De France can be found on NBC Sports Network starting around 5 a.m. PT. You should also have the opportunity to watch it online via a subscription with NBC Sports.
Stay with the SB Nation Seattle StoryStream for the latest breaking news, results and more from the 2012 Tour de France. For cycling news throughout the year, check out Podium Cafe.