Tour de France Stage 4 Betting Tips

The race heads inland before turning back on itself out towards the town of Sarzeau. It’s 195km and includes only 1 categorised climb while the final kilometre rises all the way to the line.

The TTT threw up a few surprises and I have to put my hands up for lumping on the wrong team. Sky rode well but it was BMC who put in the ride of the day to win by 4 seconds. Saving my blushes though was the successful match up double with EF-Drapac putting in an a well organised and impressive ride.

Onto tomorrow and the route looks very similar to Stage 2 but with a much simpler finish. There is a roundabout at about 4km to go but beyond this the riders will be flat out along straight roads before an uphill final kilometre that has an average of 1%. This finish will suit those with a strong leadout and because of this I think it will be Fernando Gaviria that takes his second stage win of the race.

His main rivals are likely to be Peter Sagan who I’m sure will be up there but in a full peloton and without a leadout would be a surprising winner while Groenewegen has admitted his legs aren’t quite there yet (he  was the first to be dropped from his team in the TTT). Demare has been unlucky so far but squandered a great chance of a win on Stage 2 and I don’t back him in bunch gallops. I backed Cavendish earlier in the race due to his long odds and am going to do the same again here. This finish suits him and he will prefer the more straightforward final 5km. He was driving his team along in the final of the TTT and so I think the form is there I just think he was lacking some sharpness and perhaps confidence in the first couple of stages. Kittel could also go well here but without much of a leadout and a tendency to be poorly positioned he’ll have a tough job on his hands while Colbrelli was a surprised 2nd place on Stage 2 but will struggle against a full bunch.

0.5pts on Mark Cavendish to win at 21 (unibet/betway)

My second pick is a single match up. I’ve gone with Kittel to beat Demare. Kittel looked like his former self on stage 1 and he loves a straight line finish like tomorrows. I think he will go well and I think Demare is massively overrated is pure sprints like these hence the similarity in their prices. It’s a slightly risky one being a sprint stage but barring any huge incidents I back Kittel to do the business.

2pts on Marcel Kittel tb Arnaud Demare at 1.72

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Tour de France Stage 3 Betting Tips.

A 35.5km Team Time Trial around the town of Cholet. The course is rolling but has smooth, wide roads which will suit raw power over w/kg.

Stage 2 was just as chaotic as the Grand Depart and was shaped by a crash within the final 2km. A tight-turned that pinched on the exit caught a number of riders out leaving a group of only 14 to contest the sprint with Sagan, Colbrelli, Demare and Degenkolb the only recognised sprinters remaining. Unsurprisingly all but Degenkolb made it onto the podium and it was Sagan that took the win and with it the yellow jersey. Unfortunately with the crash there’s not too much we can take from the stage other than Sagan is a beast, is never involved in crashes and always maintains impeccable position. If he wasn’t nailed on for the Green Jersey prior to the tour he sure is now.

So onto tomorrows stage and it’s Team Sky‘s to lose. They haven’t had the easiest of starts to this year’s tour with Froome losing a minute of Stage 1 but their team for this TTT is exceptional. Bar Luke Rowe their entire team has won professional individual time trials. That’s some record and they’re sure to be well drilled. BMC Racing are their closest rivals and the only team with a lineup that has the raw power to match Sky. I think they’ll fall short as Sky have a tendency to turn up when it matters but they should get close.

Michelton-Scott, Team Sunweb and Quickstep all bring strong outfits but are undoubtedly a level below Sky and BMC. Sunweb are of course the World TTT Champions and bring a number of those riders here with them. Add Dumoulin into the mix and they could be a good pick for value. QS and Michelton both bring proven teams that work well as unit but aren’t spectacular individually.

I’ve though about it a lot and I’m going to lump on Sky here, they simply have too much strength throughout the team. All of them are 65kg+ guys who will put out over 500w when on front. They smashed the Dauphine TTT to practically win the race for Geraint and I fully expect them to do the same tomorrow. I’ve also gone with a small double on match-ups which I think have some value to them. EF Education First Drapac I think are slight dark horses with the likes of Uran, Phinney, Scully and Vanmarcke while Katusha bring Zakarin, Tony Martin and Nils Pollitt.

7pts on Team Sky at 1.73 (betfair)

2pts on EF Education First Drapac tb Astana and Katusha tb Lotto NL Jumbo at 3.16 (unibet)

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Tour de France Stage 2 Betting Tips

182.5km and another nailed on sprint stage. It’s a technical finish as the race does a full 360 before a final 800m which tilt ever so slightly uphill.

Stage 1 was hectic and there’s a fair amount that we can take away in terms of form and tactics. Firstly Kittel is back. He was third on the stage and afterwards it was revealed that his sprint speed was great than anyone else in the final km. Better position and he’s sure of a win in this Tour. Secondly Quickstep have an incredibly strong leadout. When it came down to two men in front of Gaviria they split as if to give an option of which wheel to follow and it worked wonders. If they can replicate their performance then Gaviria has a great shot at stage win number 2. Groenewegen is also in good form. His leadout wasn’t great and he wasn’t near enough to the front to really compete but his sprint speed was impressive. I expect him to get up for a win at some point this race. Peter Sagan will win the Green jersey. This stage really shouldn’t have suited him and he should have struggled for top 5 but lo and behold he was up their on the podium.

So a couple of bets today.

2pts on Michael Matthews tb Magnus Cort Nielson and Peter Sagan tb Arnaud Demare at 2.92 (unibet)

Matthews impressed me on stage 1 and Magnus Cort was detached after one of the crashes. I think Matthews will fancy his chances here while Magnus Cort may need to wait for later stages. Peter Sagan is Mr. Consistent and even on a stage which didn’t massively suit him and without a leadout he managed to get up for 2nd. I fancy him to beat Demare.

1pt on Mark Cavendish e/w at 26 (sportingbet)

Cav got detached somewhere on the run in and ended up 36th  so didn’t even compete in the sprint so his form is still relatively unknown and explains the large price. The slight uphill will suit him. It’s a bit of a longshot but I’m happy to take it at that price, you won’t see Cav that large on a pure sprint stage very often!

Tour de France Stage 1 Betting Tips

201km along French coastline but unfortunately no wind. It’s pan-flat and almost will be a certain bunch finish.

Demare, Greipal and Gaviria come with the strongest leadouts but perhaps Groenewegen is the most powerful? Throw Kittel and Cavendish into the mix and it’s sure to be interesting.

I think of these guys Groenewegen edges it. He comes off the back of a win at the Tour of Slovenia and total domination in the Tour of Norway. He was the winner on the Champs Elysees last and will want to pick up right where he left off. His only disadvantage is his lack of leadout train when compared to some of the other guys however with 3 roundabouts in the final 3km I think the sprint will be messy anyway and it’ll come down to raw power and instinct.

I’m going to go with a double to start of our Tour

2pts on Sonny Colbrelli tb John Degenkolb and Arnaud Demare tb Peter Sagan at 3.88 (unibet)

For any in-play tips and strategies check out my Twitter @eachwayvelo

Thanks for reading!

Tour de France Overall Preview and Betting Tips

Le Tour.

It’s the most talked about race on the calendar. The only race you can talk to your apathetic friends and family about without them staring back at you in blank confusion.

I’m going to keep the previews slightly shorter than for previous races this year for the simple reason that each day is comprehensively previewed by hundreds of media outlets during the Tour de France and information is far more readily available than it is at any other time of year. This blog will be focused on growing our bankroll and as such each day will include my picks and the reasoning behind them. To look at the route for yourself I suggest heading over to la-flamme-rouge.eu and Inrng.com.

Parcours.

A 3-week race that feels like a tribute to everything great about cycling. There are plenty of flat stages for the sprinters, with 5 coming in the first week and potentially 3 more throughout the rest of the race. There’s a 35km team time trial on stage 3 which is rolling and will suit teams stacked full of heavier guys. Stage 9 sees the return of the pavé to the Tour with enough of the rough stuff to cause a slip up from at least one of the GC-contenders. Stage 10 sees the start of the climbing on a 158.5km stage which includes a hors categorie and 3 cat 1’s. This is followed by 2 more tough Alpine stages before a couple of transitional stages to lead us into the rest day. The riders then hit the Pyrenees for 4 stages that should determine the outcome of the race including the experimental 68km stage 17 which will be started grid-style in order of GC position. Stage 20 is the last chance for any changes in GC as the riders are faced with a sawtooth, 31km time trial suited more to the punchier riders and climbers than it is to the pure time triallers.

Race Strategy.

A TTT, A TT, Cobbles, Climbs and Crosswinds. I love this route and it’ll make for very interesting racing. Team Sky bring a very strong team and I fully expect them to batter the Team Time Trial on Stage 3. I expect they won’t want to give Chris Froome the maillot jaune too early and will loan it to one of their other ridiculously talented riders. Most teams would be happy to let the jersey go on one of the stages straight after but being Team Sky I think they’ll be happy to hold onto the jersey for the entirety of the race.

The next big test is Stage 9’s cobbles and again it’s likely Team Sky will be able to do some damage here and Movistar are likely to be the big losers with the exception of Alejandro Valverde. Adam Yates will be well protected on an experienced Mitchelton-Scott team as will Richie Porte of BMC although both could struggle individually as they have very little experience on the pave.

Once the climbing begins the onus will switch to Movistar who bring one of the strongest climbing teams of all time. They will attack early and hard as they know Froome will have the final stage time trial to claw back any time that he has lost so far. It’ll be interesting to see how they work round the obvious elephant in the room of triple leadership as I don’t see any of them backing down into a domestique role. Expect more of the same in Pyrenees with Movistar attacking alongside of the likes of Porte and Nibali.

I believe the final day time trial will be vital. Don’t expect the race to have been won by this point. Any team trying to keep the maillot jaune throughout the race will be shattered by this point as attacks come from all angles and I expect 2 or more riders to be in with a shout at victory.

However come Paris, Chris Froome will be wearing the yellow jersey for the 5th time, holding back to back Tour de France’s, the Giro and the Vuelta.

Betting Tips.

Yellow Jersey –

This is the most stacked startlist of any Grand Tour in recent memory. Sky and Movistar bring 3 GT contenders each in Froome, Thomas, Bernal, Quintana, Valverde and Landa while BMC bring Richie Porte, Bahrain bring Nibali and Sunweb bring Dumoulin. Also in attendance is Romain Bardet, Adam Yates, Dan Martin, Ilnur Zakarin, Bauke Mollema, Rigo Uran and finally Primoz Roglic.

Despite the strength of the field I still think this will be Froome’s race. What will be interesting is who manages to get on the podium alongside him.

Bar Froome, Nibali is the most decorated and most experience GT racer on on the startlist and comes into the Tour looking typically undercooked but with a very strong team. Bardet looks to be having his best year yet and will look to improve on his two podium placing in the past two years. On paper, Porte is Froome’s biggest challenger but it’s well-known that his highest placing in a GT is 5th despite competing in eleven. Primoz Roglic comes in as many peoples wildcard as his results so far this year rank him as the best 1 week stage racer in the world right now. Can he extrapolate this into GT success or will he look to go for stages and build for a more serious tilt at the GTs next year? Adam Yates is impressive but boring and while he’ll be there or there abouts I can’t see him putting in a serious challenge for the podium. Bauke Mollema would also need a huge ride as would Rigo Uran although don’t discount either of them as they’ve looked world class as one point or another in their careers.

2pts on Vincenzo Nibali to make top 3 at 3.25 (unibet)

1pts on Wout Poels to make top 10 at 7 (unibet)

Green Jersey – 

The points classification has the potential to throw up a surprise this year with relatively few intermediate stages and plenty of flat days for the pure sprinters. Sagan is the obvious choice but if someone can get a head of steam in the first week then Sagan will have a tough job catching up in what will be a tough race to pick up points.

Looking at the route and the startlist it’s tough to call who will dominate the first week. On paper Kittel is the strongest sprinter and he will be suited to the pan flat opening weekend. Cavendish could got through this race winning 4 or more stages or he could go completely anonymous. Of the old guard Arnaud Demare also in with a shout of picking up a few stages and with his impressive ability to climb he should still be picking up points in the classification late in the race.

There’s a good chance that we see somewhat of a changing of the guard this year. I expect Fernando Gaviria and Dylan Groenewegen to make this their year. Gaviria particularly doesn’t bring a team with much GC hope and as such they will target individual stages and potentially the maillot vert. Groenewegen on the other hand has more experience in the Tour, winning the Champs Elysees stage last year.

2pts on Fernando Gaviria tb Dylan Groenewegen and Sonny Colbrelli tb John Degenkolb at 2.79

Polka Dot Jersey. 

Always the toughest jersey to call as so often it is won from a breakaway on the Queen stage or by a GC rider who has slipped out of contention and is looking for glory elsewhere. Warren Barguil was a popular winner of the jersey last year and there’s a good chance he goes looking for it again this year. Rafal Majka is of course a two-time winner of the jersey and has built well into the race at the Tour of Slovenia. If we’re looking at breakaway specialists then Thomas de Gendt is a good shout and while I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the jersey at some point I don’t think he’ll hold it through the high mountains. There’s always the chance a GC contender who goes well in the mountains could take the jersey and of these I would expect Bardet or Landa to be the most likely. This is a market I won’t be betting on pre-race.

Team Classification

Team Sky vs Movistar. Both bring squads capable of winning Grand Tour’s three time’s over and so. Of the two I think Movistar slightly edge it due to their strength in the mountains. They will lose time on the TTT but with such depth in climbing ability I think they will more than make up for it and there’s a good chance they have 3 or more riders in the top 10 on GC.

This is what I’m on.

2pts on Vincenzo Nibali to make top 3 at 3.25 (unibet)

1pts on Wout Poels to make top 10 at 7 (unibet)

2pts on Fernando Gaviria tb Dylan Groenewegen and Sonny Colbrelli tb John Degenkolb at 2.79

As I said earlier I’m going to be posting everyday but under a slightly different format than that of the Giro. The previews will go up about 7pm the day before and will include my picks and any strategies that I’ve been employing. For in-plays and betfair exchange advice make sure you follow me over on Twitter @eachwayvelo.

Critérium du Dauphiné Overall Preview and Betting Tips

Often talked about as a stepping stone to the Tour de France, the Criterium du Dauphine is a great race in it’s own right. The 70th edition of the race does not boast the strongest of start-lists but the experimental route design will ensure exciting racing that keeps the general classification open right up to the final day.

Parcours.

One prologue, six road stages and one team time trial make up the 958.6km route around South-Eastern France. It’s a cleverly designed course which will have a number of riders in the peloton excited to get going.

The race begins in the town of Valence with a 6.6km Prologue time trial. Wide roads and long straights will suit the powerful riders so don’t expect a GC winner here. Still 6.6km is enough to create a hierarchy between overall contenders and some time gaps could be significant.

Stage 1 is a bumpy 179km suited to the sprinters able to get over a climb well and Stage 2 is similar. None of the big name sprinters are here so expect these stages to be chaotic and tough to control.

Stage 3 is the first big GC day with a 35km Team Time Trial. The course is as flat as they come and bar a few sweeping bends is absent of any real technicality. GC teams will have brought a couple of guys purely for this stage to minimise any losses.

The final four stages of the race are all mountainous. Stage 4 is the longest of them at 181km and takes the the Hors Categorie Col du Mont Noir which is followed by a summit finish up the 2nd cat Lans-en-Vercors.

Stage 5 then starts a trend of shorter stages at only 130km starting in Grenoble and taking in a couple of climbs early on the riders will then race towards the second summit finish of the race up to Valmorel, 15km at 6.3%.

Stage 6 is again a short stage (110km) which should ensure hard racing from the drop of the flag. Arguably the hardest stage of the race there’s barely a kilometre of flat road as the race traverses the HC climbs of Montee de Bisanne and the Col du Pre before yet another summit finish, this time up to the famous ski village of La Rosiere.

The final stage, Stage 7, does not let off the gas and provides those riders chasing time the opportunity of an ambush. It includes four 1st category climbs and the fourth, yes fourth summit finish of the race up to Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains, 7km at 7.7%.

Race Strategy.

This years route is typically experimental and builds on the trend of having shorter but harder stages.

The prologue will only produce small time gaps and despite his horrendous record in TT’s even Romain Bardet should be able to keep within a manageable time of Geraint Thomas and Vincenzo Nibali. The winner of the prologue will likely be one of the specialists such as Jos van Emden or Michal Kwiatkowski.

The next couple of stages will be chaotic but shouldn’t have too much of a bearing on the GC despite there being a good chance of the leaders jersey changing hands among the top guys from the prologue. Stage 3 however will be one that lots of teams are looking forward to while also being one that many teams are dreading. Sky are historically strong in these events and will almost certainly win with a team that includes Castroviejo, Moscon, Thomas, Van Baarle, Rowe, Kwiatkowski and Geoghegan Hart. Honestly I can’t see any team beating these powerhouses and it will be where Geraint Thomas looks to take control of the leaders jersey and the race.

From here it will be a case of defending the jersey over what will be 4 incredibly tough stages. Each includes some tough ascents but being the Dauphine the race doesn’t go above 2000m and so should suit Thomas more than a Grand Tour. I expect a more traditional race on stage 4 as the favourites test each others climbing legs before it all begins to kick off on stage 5-7. If last years edition is anything to go by then the race will not be decided until the final stage and I’m sure the likes of Nibali, Bardet and Martin won’t lie down despite being behind going into the final couple stages. It is on the final stage that I think Geraint Thomas will crack and Nibali will take the overall honours.

Contenders.

Geraint Thomas has everything it takes to win this race. Despite his desire to become a GT rider he’s instead turned into somewhat of a specialist in 1-week stage races and if his climbing legs are good then he should run away with the win here. His team is by far the strongest for the TTT and so it will likely be a case of defending the jersey for the final 4 stages rather than having to attack for it. His form this year has been a mixed bag. He deliberately missed the spring classics so he could focus on the Tour and so we’ve seen a lot less of him than usual. Strong in Tirreno but slightly off colour in Romandie his form is a bit of a mystery but knowing Sky he’s probably come into this race all guns blazing. For a while there was talk of him leading Sky at the Tour if Froome were to be banned but with the emergence of Egan Bernal he’s probably slipped further down the Sky pecking order and I wonder how this will effect his racing. Will it motivate him or will it have dented his confidence?

Vincenzo Nibali is having another crack at the Tour this year and is using this as his final tune up race. He brings a team weighted (literally) in favour of the flat TTT so as to limit his losses on team Sky and hopefully pull out a gap on AG2R and everyone else. One worry is that he hasn’t raced since the Ardennes week in mid-April and will still be on the build ready for July. Having said this though he’s by far the most decorated rider in this race and the short stages on the final 3 days will suit his attacking style and are perfect for an ambush in case he’s a way off the lead.

It’s unconfirmed, but Dan Martin looks to be leading UAE at the Dauphine this year. Historically a great race for Dan the combination of shorter stages and a lack of high mountains should suit him. He’s rounded out the podium on his last two visits to the Dauphine and will be confident he can go one or two better this year in what is a slightly weaker field. He’ll be looking forward to the summit finishes, none of which are too long, so that he can jump away with his infamous kick.

Romain Bardet rounds out what I consider the main favourites for this race. He’s proven at GT level and has had a stellar season so far putting in a great showing at Strade Bianche and earning top-10s in both Fleche Wallone and Liege Bastogne Liege. He’s twice a podium finisher at the Tour de France and his team plan for this year to be the one where he makes the leap up to 1st. Out of the favourites he also has the best record at this race. Nibali last competed in 2015 and was outside the top 10 while Thomas last competed in 2014 and finished in a lowly 46th. Compare this to Bardet who has finished in the Top-10 on each of his 4 participations and maybe he should be at shorter odds with the bookies. It’ll be interesting to see how he first copes with the prologue and then with the TTT.

Next is a supporting cast of riders that you can’t rule out based on the way this race went last year and in 2014.

Movistar’s Marc Soler has proven this year that he really is one of the big boys and despite being resigned to a domestique role at the Tour has been given the leaders role here at the Dauphine. He’s raced exceptionally well this year, taking the overall classification at Paris Nice and top-5s in both the Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta a Andulucia. He’s pretty good against the clock too but might be let down by his team in the TTT. He’ll want to try and make a point before the Tour starts and isn’t averse to some really attacking riding.

Adam Yates brother just had the best (and worst) Grand Tour of his life at the Giro and Adam will be looking to follow this up with a good result in the Dauphine. He’s been consistent so far this year with plenty of high GC finished but hasn’t exactly set the world alight. I’m thinking this is because he’s building for the Tour and this could well be the race we see his real form.

Pello Bilbao just came off the best Grand Tour ride of his life and this will both help and hinder him. His confidence will be sky-high and he’ll back himself to go well but with only a weeks worth of rest surely his body isn’t up to it. It looks like he’ll be leading Astana for the first time but looking at there lineup they haven’t sent a particularly strong squad.

Could Ilnur Zakarin pull something out the bag? On form he’s world class but we haven’t seen a huge amount of him this year and when we have it’s been pretty underwhelming. He doesn’t bring the strongest team and I get the feeling this isn’t a big target for him rather it’s all in for July.

Tips.

It should be an exciting week of racing and outside of Geraint Thomas there’s some pretty juicy prices being offered.

Outrights –

3pts on Vincenzo Nibali each way at 15 (bet365)

1pts on Ilnur Zakarin each way at 21 (bet365)

Matchups –

Only bet365 are currently offering matchups, none of which take my fancy. I’ll be sure to update tonight or tomorrow if any decent ones become available elsewhere.

 

 

 

Giro d’Italia Stage 20 Preview and Betting Tips.

Stage 19 Recap.

Chris Froome takes the most impressive individual win of his career and moves into a commanding position in the overall classification.

Expectations were high for stage 19 and boy did it deliver! As soon as the flag was dropped the racing was on which meant little room for anyone trying to get in a breakaway. The usual suspects tried but were kept on a tight leash and the gap never got much over a minute. As they hit the Colle Delle Finestre the Sky boys ominously came to the front to take over the work from Mitchelton Scott. Puccio immediately increased the watts and it was like we were watching the Team Sky of old as the unrelenting pace spat riders one by one from the peloton. With Puccio still on the front, Simon Yates began to drift and quite embarrassingly was dropped only 5km into the climb. Lopez was swinging soon after but this seemed to be an attempt to pace himself rather than actually struggling and the Sky train rumbled on. Eventually Froome was left with just Kenny Ellisonde who was showing the first signs of that TotA form we all expected. He pushed the pace hard on the gravel sector of the Colle Delle Finestre until Froome took it up and immediately got a gap. He pushed on until he took the Cima Coppi with around a 30 second gap on a chasing group of Dumoulin, Lopez, Pinot and Carapaz. On the descent Froome pushed his advantage out to 1:30 as Pinot’s sketchy skills slowed the group behind.

To everyone’s amazement the gap continued to grow on the lower slopes of Sestriere. Reichenbach had managed to bridge back up to the chase group and was helping Dumoulin and Pinot in the chase but Carapaz and Lopez cowardly sat on. Over the top of Sestriere the gap was at 2:30 and Froome was close to moving into the virtual pink jersey.

He again gained more time on the descent and it was clear frustrations were growing in the chase group in the direction of the South American pair who were still yet to do a turn. Another 3 minutes behind these guys the chase including Pozzovivo, Bennett, Formolo and Konrad was also suffering some miscommunication and was also losing time.

Froome hit the final climb to Jafferau with a gap of 3:33 and with the stage win a near certainty his attention turned to ensuring he would be wearing pink on tomorrows start line. He held the gap well as Carapaz and Lopez predictably tried to attack the group behind and eventually crossed the finish line after painfully negotiating the steep final 500m. Dumoulin paced his effort well, not being drawn into the games of Carapaz, Lopez and Pinot but he still ended up losing out to them in the finish. He eventually finished 3:23 down on Froome.

In terms of GC.

Perhaps the most exciting GC day in recent memory the Giro has been completely turned upside down. Froome gained 3 minutes on the chase group of Carapaz, Lopez, Dumoulin and Pinot and upwards of 8 minutes on everyone else. He therefore jumps from 4th up to 1st while Tom Dumoulin retains his second place, 40 seconds down and against all the odds Pinot moves onto the podium. The biggest losers were Pozzovivo who slumps into 6th and of course Simon Yates who completely collapsed and I’m pretty sure he’s still out there riding as I write this.

Parcours.

214km from Susa to Cervinia where the riders will climb to the base of the Materhorn. Unlike previous mountains stages, tomorrows route is flat for the first 129km and should be relatively stress-free.

The first climb of the day is the Col Tsecore. At 7.7% for 16km it’s a tough one which will set the tone for the remaining 84km. Once the riders crest with 68km to go they’ll be greeted with a rapid descent before immediately climbing again. This time is’s the Col de Saint-Pantaléon. It’s equally lengthy at 16.5km but is very slightly easier with an average of 7.2%. It has a tough opening section but a pretty forgiving middle sector before ramping up again to the summit.

Over the Col de Saint-Pantaléon it’s onto the final climb of the day up to Cervinia. Again it’s a 16km climb but it’s probably the easiest of the day at an average gradient of only 5.6%. This is slightly skewed by the flat final 2km but overall it should be the kind of climb to suit the more powerful riders and not the pure climbers.

Race Strategy.

The Giro is the Giro and in true Giro style it’s been completely turned on it’s head with only 2 stages to go. Mitchelton Scott are now out of the running and Froome is in the driving seat. The team that now needs to attack is Team Sunweb with Tom Dumoulin only 40 seconds away from the pink jersey but will they have the strength to do so?

I think tomorrow will be another fast stage but one where the action is concentrated into the final 84km as there’s little to gain from any team pushing early on. A break will go and it’s success will depend on the gap it can get before the first climb up Col Tsecore. I think it’s touch and go as to whether it sticks. There’ll be plenty of teams who know this is their last chance to get something out of the race  and so competition to get in the break will be fierce. So fierce that it might not go for an hour by which point they will not have a huge amount of time to build a gap before the first climb.

Once they do hit the Col Tsecore Sky will look to dominate. The boys have all hit form at exactly the right moment and the likes of Wout Poels, Ellisonde and De La Cruz will look to keep the pace high to deter anyone from attacking.

I think a strong break will get clear but will ultimately be picked off one by one as Sky up the pace on the final triplet of climbs. It will be a close call but with Astana still interested in a podium place wil Lopez and Dumoulin not too far off the race lead I think it will be a GC rider that takes the win. This man will be Richard Carapaz.

Contenders.

It’s another one for the GC boys but I’ve written plenty about them so far so I’ll keep it brief and spend a bit more time on some GC hopefuls.

Richard Carapaz has had a storming Giro so far and clearly packs a strong finishing kick on long climbs. He surprised everyone by making the 2nd group today and did absolutely no work meaning there’s a chance he’s slightly fresher than the rest. Either way I think the climbs suit him as he’s tended to get results on the slightly less punishing gradients where he can kick away in the final few kilometres.

Similarly Miguel Angel Lopez did little to no work in the chase group today and despite yoyoing on the Colle Delle Finestre looked very strong all day long. He seemed to be pacing himself and tomorrow’s slightly less testing gradients will suit him well. He’s just off the podium and has a great chance to pick Pinot off meaning I’m expecting him to attack. His Astana squad should be there in numbers in the final and this will be of great benefit.

Equally Thibaut Pinot has a podium place to defend. He went through somewhat of a resurgence today, seemingly out of it in the TT him and his teammate Sebastian Reichenbach put in excellent rides to pull back tonnes of time on Pozzovivo. If he can remain lively he’s got enough time to be allowed some freedom off the front and it will be left up to Lopez alone to chase.

Can Chris Froome pull off the double? I doubt it. At this point he’ll just want to defend his lead and keep a close eye on Dumoulin. His Sky train will look to control the field rather than to decimate it and I think this will mean we see him finish high up but not on the top spot.

In contrast, Tom Dumoulin and his Sunweb team are going to have to approach this stage aggressively. 40 seconds is probably small enough to leave an attack until the final climb but the question remains as to whether he can actually drop Froome? I’m thinking no but we’ll see. You just can’t rule anything out in this Giro.

Making the break will be incredibly tough tomorrow and will require the usual combination of strength and luck. Robert Gesink has been quiet so far but was looking stronger today and didn’t actually finish too far down. Tomorrow would suit his climbing ability well and I think he’ll have had his eyes on it. Similarly Ben Hermans finished strongly today and unlike Gesink he’s been a mainstay in a number of breakaway’s so far this Giro meaning he’s got great legs. This could well be the day he manages to pull it off. What about the Mitchelton boys? Yates is completely out of the running in the GC now so they may be given some freedom. The bookies seem to think Mikel Nieve is their man and he certainly has pedigree on stages like this but I think Jack Haig also has a great chance as he’s looked the strongest all race. My worry is that he’s just as cooked as Yates but we’ll see. After today’s stage there are also lots of guys on GC who have time to play with and could well be given some room in a break. Think the likes of Formolo, Geniez and Goncalves. 

Tips.

Likely another no bet day as it really is a bit of a lottery this far into a Grand Tour. The racing has been incredibly tough and who’s to say how the guys will have come out of a day like today. I’m gonna go with another couple of fun ones which I think holds some value. Steer clear if you don’t like the riskier ones.

Outrights –

1pt on Richard Carapaz e/w at 15s (bet365)

Match Ups –

2pts on Chris Froome tb Tom Dumoulin and Richard Carapaz tb Miguel Angel Lopez at 4.95 (bet365)

I’ll add a couple of break hopefuls if the odds move in our favour.

Thanks for reading and make sure you follow me over on Twitter (@eachwayvelo) for any in-play additions.

I’ll leave you with this…

Giro d’Italia Stage 19 Preview and Betting Tips.

Stage 18 Recap.

Max Schachmann marks out all of his breakaway rivals before powering away to take his first grand tour victory.

The breakaway stuck! A sizeable group got up the road early on and unlike every previous stage no team in the peloton was minded to chase. They quickly got a gap near 10 minutes and eventually pushed this out to nearer 15 and at this point it was clear they were going all the way. On the final climb a series of attacks left only Ruben Plaza yo-yoing and Schachmann and Cattaneo forging clear. In the final kilometre Ruben Plaza had managed to pull himself back on but Schachmanns powerful attack left both Cattaneo and Ruben Plaza for dead, rightfully earning him his first win on the big stage.

Behind the peloton had a very relaxed day before hitting the climb up to Prato Nervoso. FDJ did much of the pace setting, perhaps nervous of Pinot’s form, and we saw plenty of riders just outside the top 10 trying to slip away. With around 5km to go Woet Poels attacked and was followed by a flying Miguel Angel Lopez. Shortly after, in the ski town, Tom Dumoulin unleashed all the watts he could muster and pulled away a small group including Pozzovivo and Yates but seeing them both unshaken he slowed up. Froome then clawed his way back on and immediately counter attacked. Chaos ensued and to everyone’s surprise the one man unable to follow was Simon Yates. Sensing their opportunity Froome, Dumoulin and Pozzovivo forged on while Yates was caught and dropped by two more small groups of riders before reaching the finish line 43 seconds behind Lopez and 28 seconds behind Froome, Dumoulin and Pozzovivo.

In terms of GC.

Only Lopez actually managed to advance his GC position by leapfrogging Rohan Dennis up to 6th but Yates lost a significant amount of time on the three next best riders and Pinot lost yet more time on pretty much everyone around him. Dumoulin moved to within 30 seconds and Froome and Pozzovivo are hovering around the 3 minute mark. It’s still all to play for going into the high mountains!

Betting.

Not much was staked today with it being such an unpredictable stage which turned out to be a good decision as the break was let go but with none of the riders expected to be there. I was happy with my Pello Bilbao shout as he showed himself a number of times on the final climb so overall not too disappointing but a shame to make a small loss.

Parcours.

Arguably the Queen Stage the 185km route races through the alps taking in the Colle delle Finestre and Sestriere before finishing atop Jaffereau.

The peloton will roll out from Venaria Reale, just North of Turin, and immediately start heading uphill. 50km later they will crest the first climb at the Colle del Lys. From here they will descend  for 14km and immediately start going uphill again as they hit the false flat which leads into the bottom of the Colle Delle Finestre.

The Colle Delle Finestre is this years Cima Coppi meaning it’s the highest point on the whole route. Starting at 503m above sea level the riders will head skyward until they crest at 2175m. That’s nearly 1700m of elevation, uninterrupted. In total the climb is 18.9km, averages 9.1% and has over 8km of gravel road once it goes above 1400m. It’s a visual spectacle but remains a long way from the finish as the riders will crest with 73.3km still to go.

 

What’s left of the peloton will descend Finestre but get very little break in the valley as they head up to the infamous ski station of Sestriere. In 2015 this was where the stage finished but not here. Once they get over Sestriere the riders will take in a 23km descent, a good opportunity to shake out the legs and prepare for the summit finish up to Jafferau.

Officially the climb to Jafferau is only 7.25km but the riders will have had to tackle near enough 15km of climbing in the valley before this. Even at 7.25km it’s still a very tough ascent, averaging 9.3%. To add insult to injury it’s toughest gradient of 12% comes within the final 500m.

Race Strategy.

After today the outlook of many teams will have completely changed. The first signs of weakness from Yates were clear for all to see and they were not insignificant. To lose nearly 30 seconds in the space of 1.5km after a relatively easy day is huge and plenty of the GC riders will have taken confidence from this.

It makes tomorrows stage even more unpredictable. The climbs will suit Yates more than Prato Nervoso did today but sensing their opportunity the likes of Sky, Sunweb, Astana and Bahrain will want to push the pace early and put the pressure on Yates from the outset. To add to Yates’ worries his team also look to be weakening and showing the pressure of the 16 days they’ve held the leaders jersey. Haig was dropped before the climb to Prato Nervoso even started and Chaves was gone pretty quickly too leaving Yates isolated from early on.

With this in mind I think the race will be hard from the gun with the pace really being felt on the Colle Delle Finestre. Astana had big plans for today and delivered and Sky will be boosted seeing Chris Froome put in the attack which distanced Yates. They both have the strongest teams in the race and will look to put the pressure on.

The fast, chaotic racing will leave little chance for a breakaway to survive and we will see a GC man take the win. Based on his improving form and the strength of his team this man will be Miguel Angel Lopez.

Contenders.

Miguel Angel Lopez was the unsung hero of stage 18 with a well timed attack that saw him take time on all his rivals. He clearly had a plan in mind as he dropped to the back of the group at the start of the final climb before working his way back up and going off the front. His GC time gap meant he wasn’t marked too heavily but he looked incredibly strong nonetheless. Pello Bilbao also finished well and was active on the final climb while Luis Leon Sanchez, Jan Hirt, Andrey Zeits and Davide Villella looked to take easy days so that they could be ready for tomorrow. I’m expecting big things from Astana tomorrow and the steep but consistent slopes of the final climb suit Lopez well.

The man with the second strongest team is Chris Froome. Kyrienka, Pucci and Knees can do the work early on while De la Cruz, Henao, Ellisonde and particularly Wout Poels will be there to help Froome in the latter parts of the stage. Poels is climbing with the best right now and I expect he will be the only teammate left for any of the GC guys as they hit the final climb. Froome looks to be peaking right about now and while he hasn’t timed it perfectly it leaves him with 2 stages to really make his mark on the race. If Sky light it up Froome could well take significant time on Yates and even take the stage.

Domenico Pozzovivo isn’t the most adventurous of riders and doesn’t have the strongest of teams but tomorrows steep climbs should suit his small frame. He will look to follow in the wheels and go with any major attacks before pushing on up Jafferau. Due to his conservative style it’s tough to see him winning the stage but I’m sure he’ll be involved at the pointy end and in this Giro anything can happen.

The last time Finestre was used in the Giro Fabio Aru was the victor and there’s a lot to suggest that he can do it again tomorrow. He’s taken a few easy days after the TT and will want to utilise his turn of form to take something away from the race. What better than it’s Queen Stage? I think going with the early move will be a mistake given the likely pace behind but if he sticks tight to the GC group there’s still a great chance he can win. There’s a question over how much of his performance was down to assistance from the police motorbike but I still think it was an impressive time and his few days of rest will have really helped. I for one would love to see an Aru win tomorrow.

Tom Dumoulin will be licking his lips after today although he might be slightly worried about the altitude of tomorrows stage and the steepness of each of it’s climbs. He was famously undone on a stage similar to this in the Vuelta two years ago by none other than Fabio Aru however he’s matured a lot since then and is a much more complete rider. Prato Nervoso suited his powerhouse style a lot more than the Colle Delle Finestre will but saying this his ability to produce power over extended periods is better than anyone in the world and will suit the consistent gradients of many of tomorrows climbs. Him and his team are only 28 seconds behind Yates and have the most realistic chance of taking the pink jersey off his shoulders. First it’s about getting rid of Yates and then it’s about sticking with the other GC guys. If he manages this then he wins the Giro d’Italia.

As always I’ll mention a few guys who will be looking to win from a breakaway although I doubt it will stick tomorrow. Robert Gesink has been quiet so far but has a knack of popping up on stages like this to take the win. Similarly, Joe Dombrowski has been pretty anonymous so far but tends to get better later into a GT and can climb with the very best on a good day. With Thubaut Pinot looking worse everyday there’s a chance that his FDJ teammates are given some freedom and the most likely of these is Sebastian Reichenbach. Of Androni’s ranks, Fausto Masnada is probably best suited to a day like tomorrow and I’m sure that Giulio Ciccone from Bardiani will be extremely keen to get in the early break more so for the mountains points atop Finestre but also for the stage win if the opportunity arises. Ben Hermans has been knocking on the door as has Alessando De Marchi while Valerio Conti has looked strong so far but might not enjoy mountains this high. Finally I’m still waiting for Jarlinson Pantano to show some form and our pick from today of Matteo Montaguti may have been saving himself for tomorrow.

Tips.

I think this is a nailed on GC day but this being the Giro who’s to say what will happen! I’m tempted to back Lopez at 4 because he’s both strong enough to win and far enough down on GC to be given some room to attack but I think these odds are little too short for my liking. Keep an eye out on the exchanges if you can get him for nearer 6 you’ll have done well. I’ve gone with a four fold match up more for a bit of fun than anything, tomorrow will be all about the racing!

Match Ups –

2pts on Simon Yates tb Thibaut Pinot, Jan Hirt tb Sergio Luis Henao, George Bennett tb Richard Carapaz and Davide Formolo tb Alexandre Geniez at 8.11 (bet365)

Giro d’Italia Stage 18 Preview and Betting Tips.

Stage 17 Recap.

Elia Viviani sprints to victory and leaves no doubt as to who is the fastest sprinter is in the race.

Plenty tried to get in the early break and over 20 were successful but they were never given much of a gap as Bora were attentive, showing clear confidence in their man Sam Bennett. Over the next 100km the speed of the race whittled the breakaway down to it’s 4 strongest components (LL Sanchez, Wout Poels, Alessandro De Marchi and Ben Hermans) but cresting the final climb of the day they only had a 20 second advantage and it was clear they weren’t going to make it.

On the finish loop an exhausted Bora-Hansgrohe were prone to attacks and we saw Brambilla try a late one followed by Stybar and then Lammertink. All were nullified by a charging peloton as the race was back together again for the final 3km. A strong leadout from Lotto-Jumbo saw Danny van Poppel jump first but he was closely marked by Viviani who timed his sprint perfectly to jump clear and take his 4th win. Sam Bennett left it too late once again and made it up for second. The result pretty much concludes the race for the points jersey.

In terms of GC.

It was perhaps a harder day than most wanted with three big mountain stages coming up but the GC teams did well to keep their men up front in the hectic finale and nobody lost time.

Betting.

I’ll have to hold my hands up on this one as I called it wrong. The combination of a seriously motivated Bora-Hansgrohe and the neutralisation of the lower slopes on the first climb meant that the break never got much of a gap and it became all about the sprinters. If you were following over on twitter you’ll have seen we backed Viviani and Bennett at 8s pre-race which recouped most of the losses.

Parcours.

196km starting from Abbiategrasso in the outskirts of Milan heading South-West towards the French border. It’s one of the more straightforward days of the Giro with 180 big ring kilometres across picturesque rice fields and vineyards before a tough finishing climb up to the ski resort of Prato Nervoso, officially labelled as 13.9km at 6.9% but more like 18km at 6.2%.

Of the offical climb the first 2.5km are pretty easy, averaging just 5.5%. The 4.5km kilometres after this are the hardest of the whole climb with maximum gradients around 10% and an average of 7.78%. The final 6.9 kilometres will remain hard and the average of 6.6% is skewed by an almost flat kilometre. The final few hundred metres are around 10% and could cause problems to a rider already on the limit.

Race Strategy.

A tough day for the break to stay clear and in my opinion a likely GC showdown atop Prato Nervaso. I expect the break will be filled with the Androni’s and Wilier’s of this world rather than any of the big boys as 180km on flat roads leans heavily in favour of the peloton. If however Sky, Astana or FDJ get people in the break then it may have a chance. The big question is who chases? Everyone knows now that Yates is the best climber and could well win once more and extend his lead even further if he’s brought into the bottom of the climb. For me the GC teams still win out and we’ll see the break brought back before the climb or on it’s lower slopes.

At this point Astana and Mitchelton will be keen to set the pace alongside Sky providing Froome is feeling confident. Riders will be spat until we have only the GC favourites and few other left from which Fabio Aru will kick away to take the win with Simon Yates following to gain more time on his rivals.

Contenders.

Simon Yates has established himself as the best climber at the race and by some distance. His performance in the TT showed he has come out of the rest day well and doubts about him being able to maintain his form into the final week look to be subsiding. Interestingly he has said in an interview that Mitchelton will now look to defend the jersey rather than continue to gain time and this could mean we see him sitting tight rather than reaching out for yet another win. While this is plausible if the scenario in the final kilometres sees only him and a few GC guys left then there’s no reason for him not to attack and I think we will see him make it stick.

Fabio Aru’s performances since he was dropped on stage 15 have been pretty sensational. His time trial was better than anyone could possibly have predicted and he was looking to attack today when the finish included 60km of flat road. Where he’s found this form from I don’t know but I do know that he’s looking to leave his mark on this race and this could well mean we see him going for the stage win tomorrow. At 31 minutes down he most definitely won’t be the first guy on Simon Yates mind and so will be given plenty of room to get away.

Miguel Angel Lopez seems to have improved steadily throughout the race and desperately needs time and ideally a stage win. He was strong in Sappada, outsprinting the rest of his chase group and he was right up there on the Zoncolan. I think this climb will be where his team shines with the likes of Jan Hirt and Luis Leon Sanchez able to do long pulls to keep the pace high. He’s shown his willingness to attack and goes well from a group where everyone’s on their limit.

I also have a sneaking suspicion this could be a day where we see Pello Bilbao take the limelight. He sits right behind Lopez on GC but we’ve barely seen him all race. He has the strongest finishing kick of anyone in the top 10 which could go a long way on this climb considering it was Alejandro Valverde who was the best of the GC men last time it was used in a GT in 2008.

It will be interesting to see how Tom Dumoulin goes as this climb probably suits him more than any have before it. It’s not too steep and long enough that his diesel style could pay off. He has a pretty strong finishing kick if he can’t get away solo.

Finally Thibaut Pinot could really do with a good result here. The time trial pretty much ended any hope of his winning the GC but he’s still got a shot at a podium and I suspect this is what he’ll have turned his attention to.  TT result aside he’s been strong all race but there’s a worry that he didn’t come out of the rest day too well which may continue over to tomorrow.

If the breakaway does happen to stay clear then look to the usual suspects such as Fausto Masnada from Androni, Giovanni Visconti from Bahrain, Robert Gesink from Lotto and Valerio Conti from UAE. I’ve only named a few here because I don’t think the break will stick but if any of these four are up front then I’d expect them to do some damage.

Tips.

I was hoping Aru might come out at longer odds but he’s been priced up at 9s meaning the bookies are wise to his improved form. Of the favourites I like the look of Pello Bilbao and there’s sure to be some tasty match-ups for stage like this which I will update later.

Outrights –

0.25pts on Pello Bilbao to win at 81 (bet365)

0.1pts Davide Villella to win at 151 (bet365)

0.1pts on Mateo Montaguti at 101 (bet365)

Matchups –

To come

As always make sure you’re following me over on Twitter (@eachwayvelo) for any last minute additions or in-play options.

Giro d’Italia Stage 17 Preview and Betting Tips.

Stage 16 Recap.

Rohan Dennis puts in a blistering time to win Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia while Yates holds on to pink.

A great TT with a few surprise performances. Mads Pedersen took the early lead and would have been beaten by Ryan Mullen had is not been for the combination of Mullen cramping and Pedersen drafting his team car. He was later penalised 30 seconds for doing so.

Alex Dowsett put in a strong ride to take the lead but wasn’t sat there long as we saw Tony Martin return to the form of a few years ago with a huge time that looked like it could take the day. Van Emden came close but it was Rohan Dennis who was the only man able to beat it, clocking a time of 40 minutes at an average speed of 51.3kph. Mind boggling stuff.

Behind Dumoulin put in a strong ride but probably not as good as he was hoping while Simon Yates did better than expected and retained the pink jersey. The surprise of the day was Fabio Aru who posted a top 5 time when he crossed the line but was later docked 20 seconds as he’d gained some assistance from the Italian camera bikes.

In terms of GC.

Simon Yates put in a great ride to retain the pink jersey despite a strong effort from Tom Dumoulin while Chris Froome was solid, gaining time on all but Dumoulin and moving back into the top 5. Pinot was the biggest loser, ceding over 3 minutes to Dennis and moving over 4 minutes down to Yates on GC.

Betting.

Another good day punting! Our boy Ben O’Connor absolutely smashed Carapaz to bring home the H2H and if you follow me over on twitter you’ll have got on Rohan Dennis to win at 5.5 (unibet) just after he went through the first time check. Even if you didn’t you will still have got a nice 4pt return from today.

Parcours.

155km in the North of Italy from Riva del Garda to Iseo. Despite being in the foothills of the Dolomites the route will avoid the high mountains and opts instead for a bumpy route with only a single categorised climb.

The riders will climb immediately from kilometre zero for 10km up to Molina di Ledro. It’s uncategorised but by most peoples standards is a pretty tough challenge, averaging 5%.

The riders will then descend for a long while until they hit the 3rd category climb to Lorino, another 10km ascent but this time at only 4%. Beyond this there is only one more serious climb at around 65km to go and after descending this it’s flat into the finish town of Iseo.

The final kilometres are pretty straightforward by Giro standards bar a few roundabouts and the usual street furniture. Whether it’s a breakaway or a bunch sprint it shouldn’t cause any issues.

Race Strategy.

Today is a day for the breakaway. The opening climb up to Molina di Ledro is the perfect launchpad for a strong group to form and the bumpy terrain will take it’s toll on the sprinters who will be feeling some serious fatigue at this point in the race.

The GC teams really won’t want a hard day with the triplet of mountain stages we have coming up. I think this will work heavily in the breaks favour as it’s been these teams that tended to keep the break on a tight leash and not the sprinters teams.

We haven’t had a break stick so far and while this isn’t a reason to say one will tomorrow I think it will mean lots of teams are still pretty unsatisfied with their Giro and will have had their eyes on tomorrow for a while. Expect lots of action in the opening kilometres (not that we’ll see it as the climb is largely tunnelled) and for a strong break to go, potentially quite a large one.

A lot of usual suspects will make the break tomorrow and of those it will be Tony Martin who will take the win.

Contenders.

This is really a tough stage to call as it could go a number of ways. If it ends up coming down to a sprint then it’ll be one of Elia Viviani or Sam Bennett, both of whom have been brilliant so far with Viviani getting the edge in pure speed and Bennett seemingly the more versatile rider. If the break does stick, and I think it will, then it could be any number of guys.

You can’t go wrong with Luis Leon Sanchez on a stage like this. He has the climbing ability to make the break and then push the pace on the first half of the stage but he also has the raw watts to get away from a small group when it gets to crunch time later in the race. He didn’t look to be gunning it in the TT, practically gaining a second rest day and with Lopez continuing to slip down the GC it’s likely he’ll given even more freedom.

Of similar ilk is Tony Martin. He will be fuming after coming so close to his first GT stage win since 2014 and tomorrow looks like the perfect day for him to channel this into a win. He’s shown some of his best form in years so far in this race and I think he has a great chance of making the break and then attacking it on the flat run in. It’s tough to tell if today’s effort will put him off going on the attack tomorrow but by professional standards a 40 minute effort isn’t too taxing and I think he’ll be massively up for tomorrow.

Matteo Montaguti has been exceptional so far in this Giro. He’s already made a number of breaks and has tended to be one of the last men standing. His climbing ability should make the first half of the stage feel relatively pedestrian giving him more energy for the fast finale. If he were to win he would have to go solo as he doesn’t pack much of a sprint but with the form he’s got I think this is entirely possible.

Matej Mohoric has already won from a late attack in this Giro but as a young rider I’m sure he won’t be satisfied. He’s got the potential to be a serial stage hunter in the future and is arguably one of the best from a breakaway situation already. He finished nearly 3 minutes down on Dennis today which is by no means slow but he clearly wasn’t giving it is all. He’s looked strong all race and has the ability to use even small rises to create a gap between himself and his breakaway compatriots.

The breakaway would not be complete without an Androni rider or two and they deserve a win for their efforts so far. The most likely of these is probably Davide Ballerini who could use his top-end speed in a sprint from the breakaway as could Francesco Gavazzi who has looked particularly strong this Giro with two top 10’s.

Talking of fast finishers, I quite like the look of Koen Bouwman for this stage as well. His strong finishing kick could be perfect if small group comes to the finish but I’m worried that at 24 he’s starting to feel the strain this far into a Grand Tour.

Final mention goes to Nico Denz who is on a bit of a breakthrough. He rode well in the TT beating a number of the GC guys and placing inside the top 25. His confidence will be sky high and he possesses immense power on the flat and a good sprint.

Tips.

Unfortunately a lot of these guys have been priced pretty conservatively and with tomorrow’s stage so unpredictable I’m not sure their worth backing. Instead I’ve gone with a bit of fun on some longshots that could be saving themselves for tomorrow and guys that have shown some form earlier in the race.

0.1pts on Mads Wurtz Schmidt to win at 126 (bet365)

0.1pts on Lars Ytting Bak to win at 201 (bet365)

0.1pts on Marco Frapporti to win at 251 (bet365)

0.1pts on Marco Coledan to win at 301 (bet365)

0.1pts on Mattia Cattaneo to win at 126 (bet365)

Also keep an eye on the Exchanges for some long prices on the riders mentioned under Contenders.

Match Ups –

Tough stage for match ups, will update when more bookmakers have prices up.

 

As always keep an eye out on Twitter(@eachwayvelo) throughout pre-event and throughout the stage to keep up to date with any bets of the exchanges or in-play.