The final week comes to a close with another sprint stage. At 231km it’s the longest stage of the race as the riders head directly inland towards Chartres.
Today’s stage looked like it could be another procession as the break went within the first 200m without struggle and gained a gap of around 7 minutes. Luckily the combination of Quickstep and some winds created an exciting final 2 hours as a couple of the GC guys including Nairo Quintana and Primoz Roglic were momentarily distanced. Quintana got back pretty quickly but Roglic’s Lotto Jumbo team were forced to put in an all-out 20 minute effort to bring him back which will have hurt more than it looked. The finale saw a dominant Dan Martin jump away and stay away with Pierre Latour very nearly closing the gap and Valverde coming up late to clinch a podium spot and the final time bonus. In doing so he beat out Alaphilippe which makes for a very poor start to the betting for me. Getting the right odds just not the right results. Onto tomorrow.
Stage 7 should once again be a nailed on sprint but with Gaviria looking so strong it’s likely plenty of teams will look to lean on Quickstep to keep the break under control. There’s no question they will bring the break back it’s more a question of who will be left to lead Gaviria out who despite looking good probably isn’t the fastest straight-line sprinter in the peloton.
Again the final kilometre could be very interesting. There’s a big right hand turn at 1.9km to go and a sweeping left shortly after. The riders will descend for a few hundred metres then kick up again for the final kilometre which averages 4% for 600m and is flat in the final 200m. This brings an interesting dynamic and I think the likes of Sonny Colbrelli will be licking their lips. Similarly Peter Sagan will fancy his chances and it’s a near certainty that he’ll be on the podium. Despite looking strong in the first couple of stages I think Kittel may struggle slightly here and Cavendish has looked well off the pace. On the other hand Andre Greipel, who looked down and out on Stage 2, was very close to a win on stage 5 and he often enjoys a slightly tougher finish. He’s still being offered a decent price and so could be a good option.
Looking at the early odds I think a lot of bookie’s haven’t taken into account the toughness of the final kilometre and so there are some good prices out there on those sprinters that enjoy uphill finishes. With this in mind I’ve gone with a very small bet on Sonny Colbrelli who I think is generously priced and a couple of match ups. The first of which is a double in which I’ve selected both the favourites but at what I think are good prices. Pasqualon is having a great tour with plenty of top 10s and he likes a hard finish while Stuyven has probably underperformed and may well be working for Degenkolb. The other half of the double is Kristoff to beat Cavendish. I would be massively surprised if Cav were to get a good result here after the way he’s looked so far in the race. Still too early for him I think while Kristoff looks like he’s feeling good having won an intermediate sprint today. Finally I’ve gone with a match up which I think is massively overpriced in Sagan to beat Gaviria. Sagan has come incredibly close to beating Gaviria on his own turf on the flat stages and so with the road tilting upwards I back Sagan to put in a strong performance.
0.1pts on Sonny Colbrelli at 29 (bet365) (Can go each way instead if you fancy)
2pts on Andrea Pasqualon tb Jasper Stuyven and Alexander Kristoff tb Mark Cavendish at 2.6 (bet365)
2pts on Peter Sagan tb Fernando Gaviria at 2.62 (bet365)
Thanks for reading, bet what you can afford. For any updates and in-plays follow me over on Twitter @eachwayvelo