Tour de France Stage 20 Betting Tips.

Time Trial day. The penultimate stage of the race sees the riders face a 31km individual TT across a tough course that includes 4 notable climbs.

Today was the last day for the climbers to make the difference but despite Bardet, Landa and Zakarin’s best efforts Thomas remained too strong and lost only 19 seconds to Roglic who managed to glide off the front on the descent.

While the yellow jersey looks all but wrapped up there is still a very tight battle for the podium as Dumoulin, Roglic and Froome are all seperated by less than 40 seconds. On paper they’re all great time triallers but tomorrow could be a different test with it’s steep, irregular climbs.

World time trial champion Tom Dumoulin is clearly favourite tomorrow. His World TT win was on a course with a punchy climb at the end so the hills tomorrow won’t faze him. He’ll have had this stage penned in as both a place to pick up a stage win and take time on GC. He hasn’t shown any weakness in the race so far and I fancy him heavily for tomorrow.

As it happens his biggest competition is the man closest to him on GC, Primoz Roglic. He was the man to come closest to Dumoulin back at that World Champs and will also like the technical, up and down nature of this course. He’s looked stronger as the race has progressed and his confidence will be sky high after dictating tempo on the Aubisque before clipping away for the stage win. I think Dumoulin edges it but there’s no doubt it’ll be close.

Outside of these two it’s tough to see who else can win. The Sky boys Froome and Thomas will definitely go well and I think we could see Thomas continuing his great form and edging out Froome on this course. I’m also expecting a strong ride from Bernal, who despite being in his first GT is still riding strong right into the third week. Last but not least of the Sky boys is Kwiatkowski although I think the distance might get to him and I think he’s been tiring into this third week of racing.

Zakarin has improved throughout the race and tomorrow could see him leapfrog Quintana in the GC standings while Jungels could also fancy himself for a strong time but I think the top 1o out of reach, going in over 5 minutes down.

Of the non-GC guys the a few that might fancy their chances and put in a solid ride. Edvald Boasson Hagen put in his best sprint performance 2 days ago and go will in a punchy time trial like this. Stefan Kung is one of the most powerful in the peloton but would prefer a flatter course. The same can be said of QS’s powerhouse pairing of Terpstra and Lampaert and last year’s time trial winner Maciej Bodnar.

Betting-wise there’s not a huge amount of value in backing either of Dumoulin or Roglic so I’m just going with a h2h for now. Zakarin has looked to be gaining strength and is a great time trialler, a discipline in which Kruiswijk has never been much of a specialist. I think 2.5 for Zaka to win is way too big so that’s what we’re going with.

3pts on Ilnur Zakarin tb Steven Kruiswijk @ 2.5 (bet365)

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Tour de France Stage 17 Betting Tips.

65km from Bagnères-de-Luchon up to the summit finish of Col du Portet. There’ll be no neutral roll out and the riders will be gridded based on GC position in an arrow formation so that the first to cross the start line is the yellow jersey.

As expected today’s stage was incredibly fast from the off and with plenty of teams keen to get their riders in the break for what could have been the final opportunity of the race. A farmers protest and some errand tear gas caused a race neutralisation early on but this didn’t seem to deter a group of 44 riders who eventually got up the road after 105km of attacking. Come the Col de Portillon only strongest climber were left and it was from there that the attacks flew. Yates’ acceleration was the most convincing and he crested the climb first, Alaphilippe following around 20 seconds later. The gap was closing on the descent and the pressure showed as Yates crashed allowing Alaphilippe to come round and ride to the finish to take his second win.

The GC guys allowed Sky to control the pace and they all rolled over the line together. A day of relative ease could have some serious implications for tomorrow. The route is completely new and the gridded system could make it harder for Sky to control. Indeed a representative of Dumoulin has said that he’s viewing it as a 65km time trial and it’s likely a number of the GC guys take it up early rather than wait for their domestiques to work their way through the pack.

I think this could be the day that we see Chris Froome hit top form. G Thomas has been great so far but Froome will have targeted this final week and if the Giro is anything to go by then he could well be untouchable during the coming stages. Each climb is tough and a strong pace from the outset will suit Froome who could well attack from the gun.

I think Dumoulin will be his nearest rival and will also be keen to see Geraint put under pressure. All 3 of the climbs are tough in terms of gradient but their relatively consistent and could suit Dumoulin’s ability to pace himself. Like Froome I think Dumoulin is likely to be hitting his best form in this final week having taken it easy between the Giro and the start of the Tour.

This stage needs to be where Movistar try something. On paper Quintana and Landa should be great on this stage but their legs have been questionable at best so far in this race. Similarly this is the time for Bardet to put the hurt on and outside of Sky he’s probably been climbing the best and his descending skills are well known, something that could be vital in maintaining a gap on tomorrows stage. He also has the kind of attacking flair that could work well on a stage like this.

The final man with a chance at winning tomorrow is Primoz Roglic. This is the first time he’s been in contention for a Grand Tour so his legs are a bit of a mystery heading into the final week but going on his current form he should go well. If he can close the gap on GC tomorrow then he’ll back himself to do a good time trial to reinforce his position.

It really will be an interesting one to watch tomorrow. There’s always a chance the gridding system just ends up some kind of confused roll out with GC guys waiting for their teammates but it could also be brilliant. Lets hope for the latter!

In terms of betting there isn’t a huge amount of value going about because it’s almost nailed on to be a GC day. Froome is as short as 2s at the moment which isn’t at all tempting. Instead I’ve gone with Bardet, who I think the final climb particularly suits and who has looked strong in the mountains so far, particularly when the racing is hard for a long period.

1pt on Romain Bardet to win @ 15 (bet365)

If you’re interested I’ve also gone with a fun little treble. Pierre Latour to beat Guillieme Martin should come off based on the racing so far with Latour beating Martin pretty much every time out. Dan Martin to beat Egan Bernal could be a slightly tricky one based on the talent of Bernal but I’m thinking Sky will use him to set pace and will be happy for him to sit up well before the finish. Fuglsang to beat Zakarin should be another interesting one but again one I’m confident of. Zakarin has looked out of shape all race and doesn’t really have any team support to speak of. Team moral in the Astana squad will be high and this will have a huge impact on Fuglsang’s performance (just look at their attempt to attack today)

1.5pts on Fulgsang tb Zakarin and Dan Martin tb Egan Bernal and Latour tb Martin @ 3.36 (unibet)

Thanks for reading, quite likely to be some additions or in-plays for tomorrow so follow me on Twitter to stay updated @eachwayvelo

Tour de France Stage 16 Betting Tips.

The race hits the Pyrenees in a 218km brute of a stage. The riders will roll out from Carcassonne and 5 hours later will find themselves finishing in the well known town of Bagnères-de-Luchon. Plenty of rolling terrain and 3 major climbs in the final 70km will make it an interesting day for both the breakaway and the GC men.

Tomorrow will likely be similar to stage 15 there’s a good chance of the break making it the finish. We managed to hit our first big winner so far in the race with Magnus Cort (66/1) last time out but I feel tomorrow could be one of the most unpredictable stages of the entire race. It’s the day after a rest day so plenty will feel like they’ve got a good chance of making the break and we’ll likely see another rapid start to the stage as a result. With the experimental 68km stage the day after I think teams will be happy to allow a move a good gap and if it’s big enough there’s a good chance it goes to the finish. Having said the the final climb up the Col du Portillon is tough and will attract a move from a GC rider, particularly one who fancies themselves to hold a gap on the downhill run to the finish. If the break don’t hit this climb with 4 minutes + then I suspect they won’t survive.

I’m completely undecided on tomorrow but I think I’m leaning more towards it being a GC day for the simple reason that they’ve had 3 easy days now and time is running out to make a difference in the mountains. Sky will look to control but a number of other teams know they have to try something and this could make the second half of the stage equally as fast as the first.

If the race comes back together then I think Ag2r’s Romain Bardet is the best pick. He’s shown his strength in the mountains a number of times over the past couple of weeks and will be buzzing that both major descents are on tight, twisting roads that suit a lone escapee over the peloton. I think Froome will also have this mindset and won’t hold back even if it means attacking his teammate.

For a breakaway I think Adam Yates is the prime candidate. He looked both keen and strong on yesterdays stage in his attempts to form a break with Barguil and Muhlberger. At this point Orica have nothing to lose and there powerful team will stand of good chance of controlling things early on to ensure Yates gets up there. Of course there are plenty of other guys who will be looking for the break. For one Thomas De Gendt still hasn’t got his stage win despite numerous attempts. He missed the break yesterday so will be refreshed and raring to go. Of course the Izaguirre will also look to be up the road as will the aforemention pair of Barguil and Muhlberger. Of course this stage will also suit Julian Alaphilippe and he’s guarenteed to be up there to hoover up mountains points.

For me a break winner is very difficult to pick because of the downhill run in. I’ve therefore only gone with a small one on Gregor Mühlberger after the strength and awareness he showed at the start of Stage 15 and the value he presents at 125. I’ve also gone with a double. Froome to beat Dumoulin I think is likely due to Froome skills descending and the liklihood that we’re about the see Froome hitting top form. The other half of the double is Yates to beat Majka. They are both likely to be in the break and in that case I expect Yates to be the stronger of the two.

0.1pts on Gregor Mühlberger @ 126 (unibet)

2pts on Froome tb Dumoulin and Yates tb Majka @ 3.06 (unibet)

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Tour de France Stage 14 Betting Tips

A 188km transition stage from Saint-Paul-Trois Châteaux to Mende that looks dead set for a breakaway. The second half of the route includes 4 categorised climbs, the last of which is 3km averaging 10.1% meaning this day is ideal for the punchier riders.

As sprint stages go today was actually pretty decent. FDJ were clearly all in for Demare and didn’t let the breakaway get more than 3 minutes. In the end this meant their leadout didn’t quite have the legs and it was Sagan who mugged them at the line to take the win.

Tomorrow looks like a really interesting stage, not least because the win will very likely come from a breakaway. The race will start quickly because plenty will fancy their chances of getting up the road but once Sky, Sunweb and Movistar are happy with the composition of the break they will be allowed a pretty sizeable gap.

Two guys I’m certain will try to be up the road are Warren Barguil and Julian Alaphillipe. Both want the mountain points on offer and are well suited to the punchy climbs that characterise the second half of the stage. In fact I’d back them on this kind of stage whether they made the break or not. I also like the look of Philippe Gilbert for tomorrow. The final climb may be a little too long for him but this is potentially his final chance at a win in this years Tour.

I picked Lilian Calmejane at very long odds for Stage 12 but he didn’t have the legs on the Croix de Fer. This stage however is much better suited and with he’s definitely Direct Energie’s best pick. David Gaudu has looked lively all race and will fancy his chances here as will Robert Gesink although both may have their eyes on the more mountainous Stage 15. I think the Izagirre brothers are in the same boat. I would expect one to go up the road today and one tomorrow.

Mitchelton are likely to want someone in the break and there’s a chance this could be Adam Yates given than he’s fallen away on GC. If not I think Daryl Impey stands a good chance on the tough finishing climb and can beat almost anybody if it comes down to a small group sprint over the top. The same can be said of Astana as Fuglsang slips away from being a true contender. Omar Fraille is built for stages like this but has been incredibly quiet so far. Exactly the same can be said of Jelle Vanendert. Have they been waiting for this stage?

Unfortunately the bookies seemed to have gone with a 200% overround for this stage and so the odds aren’t looking too appealing. I’ve just gone with a fun little match up rather than anything serious. My reasoning is that Dan Martin will love this finish and may well try and find a little bit of time on the GC group while Quintana tends to struggle in these short, high power efforts and so I back his teammate to be the better of the two.

2pts on Dan Martin tb Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa tb Nairo Quintana at 2.84 (unibet)

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Tour de France Stage 12 Betting Tips

From a trendy 108km stage to a classic 175km Alpine stage finishing atop Alpe d’Huez. Stage 12 is the last in a triplet of mountain stages and it’s arguably the hardest.

Today we got exactly what we expected with a large break going clear early on and a high tempo set behind. Barguil kept true to his promise by getting in the early move but wasn’t able to deliver the win.  Instead it was Mikel Nieve who was strongest from the break but unfortunately fireworks on the final climb meant that Geraint Thomas stormed up from behind to take the stage win on the same climb he was so impressive on earlier in the year.

Tomorrow will be equally as brutal and there will be plenty of riders starting the stage with sore legs. If you’ve ever ridden in the Alps you know that each of the Madeleine, Croix de Fer and Alpe d’Huez are difficult in isolation but to do those back to back including the beautiful Lacets du Montvernier will be leg shattering. Unlike todays stage the riders will have a bit of a warm up in that they have 27km of flat to start but once they hit the Madeleine it’s up and down all day. It is on the Madeleine that a break will go and I think the GC teams might be happy to keep it slightly more relaxed and let them get a pretty sizeable gap. Not even Sky can control the race for 175km and will be happy to take the Madeleine and the first half of the Croix de Fer at a pretty leisurely pace. Whether the break then stays away is a tough one because the GC teams are sure to be roaring up behind them on Alpe d’Huez.

If the break manages to stay away there are a fair few guys who could be in with a shout. Today the initial break included over 20 guys and there’s a good chance we see a number of those shoot up the road again. Of course Warren Barguil will be interested and he looked strong today but didn’t quite have the power to stay with Nieve on the final climb after he’d been going for mountains points all day. Speaking of Mikel Nieve I’m sure he’ll be interested again after his near miss but I doubt the legs will be there and he may be on team duties with Adam Yates. Final one from today that was paticularly impressive was Jesus Herrada but again it took a huge effort to stay in touch with the front of the race and it will be tough for him to repeat.

A couple of breakaway guys were dropped earlier than expected today which may allow them to go slightly deeper tomorrow but is also a worrying sign of their current form. I’m thinking of Pierre Rolland, Darwin Atapuma, Thomas De Gendt and Tejay van Garderen in particular.

Of course if fresh legs are what you need for tomorrow then there’s a few guys who didn’t go in the early move and may have kept something back for tomorrow’s monster stage. Rigo Uran lost nearly 26 minutes today to completely take himself out of the GC battle and could be interested tomorrow considering EF are now solely looking for stage wins. Similar can be said of FDJ and David Gaudu, their strongest climber, seemed to take a day off today. Final pick is Lilian Calmejane who has been visible so far this race and being French will have had his eye on this stage as a possible career defining victory.

Of course if it’s a GC day then it’s hard to look past Froome and Thomas as they’ve both proved themselves already to be some of the strongest climbers in the race. I’ll be interested to see how Dan Martin does as he’s often struggled in the high mountains and I’m excited to see how Movistar will attempt to disrupt Sky’s domination.

I’ve also gone with a couple of matchups which includes Kruiswijk to beat Landa and Yates to beat Jungels. Landa looked off the pace today despite not having to put his head in the wind while Kruiswijk looks to be on great form and can go really well on big mountain days. In a similar vein is Zakarin to beat Fuglsang where Zakarin appears to be growing into the race and Fuglsang already fading. I spoke earlier about Martin struggling in the high mountains so I think the price set on this is all wrong, great value if you ask me.

So my picks for tomorrow..

0.5pts on David Gaudu to win at 41 (bet365)

0.1pts on Lilian Calmejane to win at 201 (bet365)

0.2pts Rigoberto Uran to win at 101 (unibet)

2pts on Steven Kruiswijk to beat Mikel Landa and Ilnur Zakarin to beat Jakob Fuglsang at 2.5 (bet365)

2pts on Dumoulin to beat Dan Martin at 2.62 (bet265)

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Tour de France Stage 11 Betting Tips.

A short and intense 108km as the riders continue through the alps. This stage is a carbon copy of the 6th stage in this years Criterium du Dauphine.

Today was the first true mountain stage and as so often happens it was a bit of a standoff between the GC men and their teams. Alaphilippe was the winner on the day taking a minute and a half out of the breakaway which he’d been highly influential in forming. Of the major GC players no-one lost time although Valverde looked to be struggling over the top of the Col de Romme and the likes of Mollema, Uran and Zakarin faltered at the first hurdle and came in a minute down on the Froome group.

Onto tomorrow and it should be another intriguing day. The GC guys were really quite tentative today, none of them putting out any serious attacks. In the Dauphine, Pello Bilbao won from the breakaway, holding off a GC group which was headed up by Geraint Thomas. On paper it’s not a particularly hard day but being so short there’s a chance a team will want to take it up early and put the hurt on. The final climb has a pretty benign 4.7% average gradient but this masks a middle 6km which average over 8%. It’s a tough climb and being a summit finish the GC guys will feel more comfortable in their ability to hold an advantage to the finish. In my opinion this suits Dan Martin down to the ground. He was outdone by Thomas at the Dauphine but is in better form here and will back himself to take it up in the final kilometre.

If it turns into a another GC stalemate then this could be the day for Warren Barguil who has said in the press that he has been targeting the next couple of stages (although this is hard to believe when in that same interview he said he was going to deliberately lose time today only to go and attack the GC group). Otherwise I think Tom Skujins is likely to want to get up the road for mountains points and has been in great form so far. Damiano Caruso could also go well being the only BMC rider currently capable of winning a stage (bar TVG who I think will wait until he’s over his crash before going hunting). Pierre Rolland could also go well here although I think he would prefer a longer stage, he’s not the most explosive rider and will struggle against others with more punch. We could well see Gesink and Pauwels going for it again tomorrow but surely today will have taken too much out of them.

It’s a tough one to call but there’s no chance you’ll see me going near prices as short as 6s or 7s for the likes of Barguil or Quintana. Instead I’ve gone with Dan Martin in the case of a GC sprint and Tom Skujins as my outsider for a breakaway.

1pts on Dan Martin to win at 15 (bet365)

0.1pts on Tom Skujins to win at 251 (bet365)

Thanks for reading, I may well add a couple more small outsiders as more prices come out so keep checking back or head over to my Twitter @eachwayvelo

 

 

Tour de France Stage 8 Betting Tips

Bastille Day and a sprint royale to celebrate as the race heads into the popular finish town of Amiens. It’s another long one at 181km and another final kilometre that tilts ever so slightly uphill.

Today was a typically boring Tour de France first-week stage as the riders trundled along way behind schedule. There were a couple flashpoints at which the race looked like it would liven up but for the most part it was a procession and only worth watching for the final 10km. The sprint trains came to the fore and when all was said and done it was Dylan Groenewegen who took the win with Sagan and Gaviria yet again on the podium. Betting wise I was very confident today but it seems I can’t hit a barn door! Both bets were let down by riders fading late on and being pipped to the line by their respective h2h. Onto tomorrow, hoping for a change in fortunes!

Stage 8 is a standard sprint stage and despite some technical final kilometres it’s likely to be a 3 up sprint between Sagan, Gaviria and Groenewegen. It’s an interesting matchup with Sagan the most gifted technically and the most consistent, Gaviria with the best team and therefore leadout, and Groenewegen who is the most powerful and fastest in a straight line. As a result of this there’s pretty poor value betting-wise on these three but this opens up the door for some longer odds on some of the other major players. Of those I can only see Kittel or Greipel having a serious chance. Both have shown glimpses so far and if in the right position will be tough to beat. Having said this I think with his win and the confidence that will have come with it Groenewegen will take his second stage on the bounce.

With all this in mind I’m going to have a small punt on Kittel to win. His speed is up there with the best and his form has looked good if inconsistent. I’ve also gone with a treble. Pasqualon to beat Impey should be a given with the consistency with which the Wanty rider is racing. Andre Greipel to beat Kristoff could be a slightly risky one but I think Kristoff has been struggling in the pure sprints and will have his eyes on the cobbles tomorrow. Finally I’ve got Kittel to beat Cavendish. Cav improved a lot today but even at his best only managed 10th. Kittel will look to bounce back tomorrow after his 110th place today.

1pt on Marcel Kittel to win at 9 (willhill)

3pts on Pasqualon tb Daryl Impey and Andre Greipel tb Alexander Kristoff and Marcel Kittel tb Mark Cavendish at 4.5 (bet365)

Thanks for reading, this post comes with a wealth warning after the poor start to the tour, always bet what you can afford. For any updates and in-plays follow me on Twitter @eachwayvelo

Tour de France Stage 7 Betting Tips.

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

Tour de France Stage 6 Betting Tips.

Another punchy finish as the riders tackle the Mûr-de-Bretagne. Overall the route covers 181km and includes 4 categorised climbs. They’ll ascend the Mur twice in the closing kilometres which will make for plenty of tension in the peloton and some interesting tactics.

 

The race has finished here twice before and on both occasions there were some significant splits come the finish line. It’ll mean that the GC teams will look to control the race while stage hopefuls will need to work their way to the front while the pace is already high. It’s a tough one to call but looking at Alaphillipe on the intermediate sprint yesterday I think he’s a good shout for today. He will look to jump early on the steepest sections and hold it to the line or outsprint anyone that tries to come with him.

We haven’t had a great time so far with the betting, Demare letting us down yesterday by being dropped a long way out. Today I’m going with another match up, this time with Alaphilippe to beat Valverde. It’s a tight one this but I like the odds at 1.9 and I think the QS rider will really fancy his chances for the stage win and will be well protected throughout the stage.

3pts on Julian Alaphilippe tb Alejandro Valverde at 1.9

Thanks for reading, I must apologise for the lateness of this post, I was too busy being an England fan last night to write one up! As always for any updates and in-plays follow me over on Twitter @eachwayvelo

Tour de France Stage 5 Betting Tips.

204.5km of lumpy road that finishes with 1km at 4.8%. It’s a chance for the puncheurs to get involved and there’s a strong chance of some sketchy racing as the riders fight position on narrow, twisting roads.

Today’s stage was probably the best yet with a breakaway that went much further than expected and a sprint that wasn’t decided until the very final moment. As I predicted Demare was nowhere to be seen and Kittel again finished strongly winning our match up bet. The long-shot on Cavendish was looking good until the flamme rouge where he was struggling to hold the wheels. He had good position but simply doesn’t have the legs yet. Today was a much better performance from him and I’ll definitely be jumping in again on Cav when his odds inevitably drift out to the 30 mark.

Tomorrow’s stage should be an interesting one. The run-in is very technical and there are some rough, narrow roads that will make positioning vital. On paper this stage is made for Peter Sagan and with the form he’s in it would be tough to bet against him. Key to the final kilometre is the 4.8% average which brings into play a number of riders we haven’t seen too much of so far. Greg van Avermaet will fancy his chances of taking a win while in the yellow jersey and Michael Matthews and Sonny Colbrelli will be licking there lips at a finish that could really suit their styles. This is also a great chance for Philip Gilbert to take the stage win and the maillot jaune and so QS will be incredibly motivated to keep the race hard. Equally talented is Julian Alaphilippe however I suspect he would prefer a slightly harder finish.

Tomorrow really depends on which teams want to take it up. The stage is up and down for 98km and so there’s plenty of opportunity to rip it to shreds however I think the collective strength of a number of teams will mean that it’s hard to make any gaps stick. I would love to see Gilbert rewarded for his team efforts so far this year but I don’t think the final climb or the stage as a whole is hard enough for him. Instead I think it will be Peter Sagan who takes the stage.

The odds for Sagan are a bit too short for my liking so I’m going to leave the outright bets alone tomorrow. Instead I’ve gone with Demare to beat Gaviria. I think the stage will be too tough for Gaviria while Demare has improved markedly in hilly races over the past couple of seasons. He had a tough start to the race with crashes and as expected was off the pace in the straight line sprinting of today. Tomorrow is very different and I think he will fancy it.

2pts on Arnaud Demare tb Fernando Gaviria at 2 (unibet)

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