Riders are chasing van Aert to try to form the break of the day.
Another fast start and another Wout van Aert attack!
He was joined by Neilson Powless but is now solo.
Froome published a brief message, expressing his disappointment but saying he plans to ride the Vuelta a Espana.
Unfortunately I won’t be taking the start today due to covid-19 😔 #TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/RJziNXG52dJuly 21, 2022
The flag drops the stage starts!
The road climbs straight away and there are attacks.
140 riders start the stage.
Also missing is Chris Froome, who announced he has COVID-19 just before the roll out.
The riders face a short 3.1km neutralised sector.
🌪 The calm before the storm…🌪 Le calme avant la tempête…#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/OUr9zbZX4tJuly 21, 2022
The riders roll out of Lourdes.
It’s time for the pre-tace fist-pumps.
The riders are starting to line-up for the roll out.
After losing Rafa Majka before Thursday’s stage, Pogacar has just three teammates:
Marc Hirschi, Mikkel Bjerg and Brandon McNulty.
It’s going to be tough but i’m going to give my all,” Pogacar says when it is pointed out today is his last chance to pull back time on Vingegaard.
The sign-on podium is in the centre of Lourdes and several riders will be looking for a miracle today.
They include Tadej Pogacar, who is on stage now.
It’s currently 28C in Lourdes but cooler at the Hautacam finish, which was above the clouds earlier this morning.
Jonas Vingegaard is on stage with his Jumbo-Visma teammates. The Dane is eating a ice lolly to try to stay cool.
We’re 15 minutes from the start of the stage.
This is today’s stage. It includes the mighty Aubisque, the Col de Spandelles and then the finish at Hautacam.
It’s the final chance in the mountains for the climbers! Will the Aubisque, col de Spandelles and Hautacam provide the perfect playing ground? ⚔️L’Aubisque, le Col de Spandelles et Hautacam, un terrain parfait pour une dernière bataille au sommet ? ⚔️#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/FZ73P3mGBeJuly 21, 2022
Groupama-FDJ are on stage next. They will be hoping that David Gaudu can keep fighting for a top-five place overall.
Nairo Quintana is only 4 seconds ahead of him in fourth and so the two will be locked in their own race on the climb to Hautacam.
Ineos is next on stage. They still have a full team of eight riders despite some illness.
They again wear yellow helmets during the stage as leaders of the team classification.
Erviti is the first Movistar rider to catch COVID-19 during the 2022 Tour de France. It is only the second time in his long career as a domestique and road captain that he has failed to finish a Grand Tour. He has started 28 Grand Tours and only failed to finish the 2012 Tour de France.
It is the first time Caruso has abandoned a Grand Tour after completing 15 three-week races.
Sadly two more riders are out of the Tour due to COVID-19. Movistar team announced that their road captain Imanol Erviti tested positive for the virus this morning.
Damiano Caruso also headed home after struggling in the Pyrenees, with Bahrain Victorious revealing he was also positive for COVID-19.
It’s a huge final day in the Pyrenees and so much could happen on the three big climbs of the stage.
As always, we’ll have full live coverage of all the action.
As we get up to speed, the riders are signing on in Lourdes, ready for this final mountain stage of the 2022 Tour de France.
Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 18 of the 2022 Tour de France.