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Darran

Tour de France

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Very surprised no one has started a thread yet and hopefully there will be others posting on this but here is my preview anyway. Yellow Jersey It was a real shame last year that we were denied the three way battle between Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali as the first two both got injured which meant Nibali had a very easy task. This year those three return and we get the added bonus of Niro Quintana who finished 2nd to Froome in 2013 and won last year’s Giro. Froome is favourite and I can understand why. He showed in the Dauphine last month that he is in good form again coming into the Tour and his Team Sky looks the strongest it has been since Wiggins won in 2012. Two things worry me about his chances though. First of all it is the cobbles on stage 4 as he doesn’t really like them, although his team is capable of protecting him. Secondly and more importantly is the lack the shortage of time trial miles this year’s race. He has a fairly big advantage in time-trails compared to his rivals and that is basically gone, plus Team Sky will need to ride a better team time-trial than they did in the Dauphine. Contador is bidding to become the first rider since Marco Pantani to win the Giro and the Tour in the same season. Given Pantani was on every drug going and that Contador flopped in the Tour when he last tried to do the double that shows how hard it is to do. Granted Contador won the Giro very easily and he may have eased off later on, but this looks a hard Tour route and I don’t think he can pull off the double. Also he lost a lot of time to Nibali on the cobbles last year which is a worry this time around as well. Nibali is turning up to the Tour in similar form to how he turned up last year, which is not great. However you can be certain he will be fully tuned up come Saturday and on one stage of the Dauphine he looked very good before taking it easy for the rest of the race. Who knows if he would have won last year if the other two had stayed in the race, but given the form he was in I think they would have found it hard to have beaten him. The time he gained on the cobbles won him the Tour for me because it put Contador under pressure and that led to him taking more risks which caused him to crash. Quintana has shown bits of good form this season and this could well be his best chance of winning in Paris. That is because he is an out and out climber, so the lack of time-trial miles pays massively in his favour. Froome has come out and said he isn’t worried too much about him because he doesn’t have a turn of pace high enough to drop the others, but I am not sure I agree with that. In my view he is the best climber around at the moment and he might well just show it. I was all set to go with Quintana and then I changed my mind to Froome after his Dauphine win, but I am going back to Quintana again as I can see him being able to put the other three in trouble in the mountains. He has a strong team as well to help land the prize. I will also back Nibali e/w as I think as long as he gets round he will be in the first three and given the tough first week it makes sense to have someone else onside. He was superb on the cobbles last year and he could well have an advantage over the others come the mountains which will put them under pressure. I am however going to wait until after Stage 1 to back Quintana as he is the worse time-trialler of the four and unless something surprising happens his price shouldn’t shorten and hopefully might just drift a little. Top 10 finish Obviously quite a few odds on chances in this market, but they won’t all finish in the top 10 and I think there looks a solid bet at odds against. Bauke Mollema was 6th in 2013 and 10th last year and the reduction of time-trial miles will be in his favour. He is just the type of rider who will ride fairly anonymously for the three weeks and yet somehow still appear in the top 10. He looks a fair bet at Paddy Power’s 5/4. Green Jersey Peter Sagan has made this jersey his own in recent years, but they have tinkered with the points system again after he won it without winning a stage last year so he won’t find it so easy this time around and although he might well win it again I am going to look for some value. Most bookies are going the first two e/w but I still think it is worth backing Alexander Kristoff e/w. He has had a fantastic season so far and is essentially another Sagan in that he can sprint on the flat and get over the medium sized hills as well. He won 2 stages at last year’s Tour and finished 3rd in this competition. He is sure to be more focused on trying to win it this year and he looks over priced. Mark Cavendish should win multipule stages with Marcel Kittel missing although he lacks the advantage of winning on the tougher stages and I just wonder if he will even target it this year and instead focus on stage wins. Not surprisingly the price collapsed on Marcel Kittel’s team mate John Degenkolb once it came out Kittel was missing the Tour. Degenkolb has also had a cracking season and is very much in the Sagan/Kristoff mould. He will now be lead sprinter on the team and he is worth backing at double figure odds to small stakes. King Of The Mountains This had become a bit of a lottery, but the change in the way points are given a few years ago means it can go to a GC contender or a pure climber. In 2013 Quintana and Froome finished first and second and last year Nibali was 2nd to Rafal Majka. On that basis Nairo Quintana looks a very solid e/w bet at 5/1. As I mention above I think he is the best climber in the race and if that proves to be reality then he will be nailed on to be in the first three. Team Classification This competition provided me with my best winner of last year’s race as AG2R landed the spoils. They certainly have a chance again although this looks a more open competion than last year and I think it will be hard to retain their title. The four teams of the four main contenders all feature riders who could be capable of riding in the top 20 or even top 10 themselves and I think it could be down to who does best with their third rider (the top 3 from each stage are used for this competition). At this stage I think it is worth splitting stakes on Astana and Movistar. Valverde should follow Quintana into the top 10 overall and Astana look to have a couple of riders who all being well should hit the top 20. Mark Cavendish There are as always a whole range of bets on the Tour and one of the special bets on Mark Cavendish catches my eye. Bet365 have priced him at 6/5 to win over 2.5 stages which I make an odds on chance. He has looked in great form this year and he will be even more determined than usual to win a few stages after what happened last year. With Kittel out he shouldn’t have that many issues picking up three stages. Stage 1 The only indivdual time-trial of the race and it is a short one as well. Not surprisingly Tony Martin is afavourite and although Tom Dumoulin rates a danger, he disappointed in his National time-trial Championships at the weekend and thus Tony Martin is a pretty confident pick. This will have been his main target all season and given how he has dominated the time-trials in recent years it will be a bit of a surprise if he fails to win. Cancellara used to dominate these until Martin came along, but he has looked on the downgrade for a while now and although he might get 3rd, I find it hard to see how he can beat Martin. Nairo Quintana 2pts (back after Stage 1) Vincenzo Nibali 0.5pts e/w Bauke Mollema to finish top 10 1pt Alexander Kristoff to win Green Jersey 1.5pts e/w John Degenkolb to win Green Jersey 0.25pts e/w Nairo Quintana to win King Of The Mountains 2pts e/w Astana to win Team Competition 1pt Movistar to win Team Competition 1pt Tony Martin to win Stage 1 2.5pts

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Forgot there was already a thread started as it was so long ago. I suggest we stick to this one as the old one has old stuff at the start which isn't useful anymore. Just repost your stuff in this one. Hopefully some of the other cycling fans will come back as this Tour thread was very profitable last year.

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Okay. Maybe someone should close the "Tour de France 2015" thread then, or it might get confusing. Plus delete out our little discussion here ideally. Anyway, here are my re-posts:

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I guess this year's GC is all about the big four: Froome (2/1), Quintana (5/2), Contador (5/1) & Nibali (5/1). Contador's trying to complete the rare & difficult Giro-Tour double; Nibali's preparations seem to have been hampered by injury; Froome looked good in the Dauphine; the course should favour Quintana's climbing expertise. However, the bet that interests me is Rafal Majka @9/2 (Paddy Power) to finish in the top 10. He'll be riding for Contador, not the polka-dot jersey, and maybe he's targeting the Vuelta. However, if he's in the elite climbing groups, he can rise up the classification. Modest form so far this season, but he seems to endure well over the really long battles. I can see him giving up time in the first week though, plus there's always the danger of early crashes, so I'm wondering whether to hold off a bit... The 25/1 to finish in the top 3 might be worth considering too.

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I'll summarize the potential key stages for General Classification betting. This website has all the stage profiles handily listed on 1 page: http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/racin...te-2015-140386 I've probably missed some potential crosswinds etc., but hopefully it's a useful overview. Let me know if any of the facts are wrong. Here's hoping for another masterclass this year from Crouch Potato and the other experts on this forum. :) July 4th (Saturday) - 13.8km Time Trial Completely flat. Tour winners have tended to show very well in prologues, and this is not the shortest. Time gaps will be modest, but contenders will be going all out, so it might provide some information. July 6th (Monday) - Cat 3 finish Only a classics stage, but late hilly sections can produce fast, intense racing in the first week of the tour. I can see things getting pretty serious. Keep an eye out for any big names struggling on the final Mur de Hey. July 7th (Tuesday) - Cobbles Always an injury risk, so might be worth postponing GC bets until after. Expect some GC contenders to lose significant time. July 11th (Saturday) - Cat 3 finish When the fourth stage of the 2011 tour also finished on Mur-de-Bretagne, only nine elite riders finished with the same time; Cadel Evans took the stage on his way to winning the tour. There won't be big time gaps, but it might show who's weak. July 12th (Sunday) - 28km Team Time Trial Always important. Unusual to have a TTT so far in to the tour - could be a real problem for teams who lose riders in the opening week. July 14th (Tuesday) - HC finish Critical for punters, as the first mountaintop finish often tells you who's going to win. Comes after a rest day, and there are no other mountains to soften up the field before La Pierre-Saint-Martin, but I expect a devastating tempo as they near the climb. July 15th (Wednesday) - Mountains, Cat 3 finish Interesting stage profile. The Col d'Aspin and its descent are immediately followed by the Tourmalet, which they crest 40km from the finish. Then, a huge descent leading straight to the modest final climb (Cote de Cauterets). I wonder whether the GC contenders will really go to war or not. July 16th (Thursday) - Mountains, Cat 1 finish A third consecutive hard day in the Pyrenees, but with the mountains slightly spread out. There's an easy 35km prior to the final climb. Still, the Plateau de Beille will sort out the field. July 18th (Saturday) - Medium mountains, Cat 2 finish Finishes with the short, steep Cote de la Croix Neuve, following directly on from a Category 4 climb and descent. There's also 1km of flat at the end. Gaps will be modest, but expect an intense finish. July 20th (Monday) - Medium mountains, Descent finish Doesn't really look like a GC-type stage, but with the rest day coming up, someone could attack up and down the Category 2 Col de Manse. Descending rarely decides tours, but a downhill attack is doable on this stage. July 22nd, (Wednesday) - Mountains, Cat 2 finish The day's final alp, Pra Loup, comes straight after the climb then steep descent of the Category 1 Col d'Allos. Pra Loup is only a 6km climb, so a descent attack is again a possibility. July 23rd (Thursday) - Mountains, Flat finish Up and down the Col du Glandon, then a fairly flat 10km. Next, a short, sharp kick up Lacets de Montvernier, followed by an easy 10km to the finish. Probably just a quiet stage for GC, but tough enough to mention in case someone spots a rival having a bad day. July 24th (Friday) - Mountains, Cat 1 finish Consecutive mountains and descents, then a long, grinding climb up La Toussuire. July 25th (Saturday) - Mountains, HC finish Will we get a spectacular finish? A short stage culminates with the legendary climb through the wild crowds of Alpe d'Huez.

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I would expect Quintana to lose more time on the cobbles than the other GC riders, providing Froome doesn't crash. He's the best climber in the race though, so would probably look to back him for yellow after stage 4. Green looks interesting. Depends on Sagan's freedom I guess but Degenkolb looks the value. Frankly I'd have Matthews as great value were he to try but Orica are too focused on stage wins this year. Meintjes is my KoM Pick. MTN clearly target this jersey in races and Meintjes is the only quality climber on their roster. Very impressive in the Dauphine and if he goes for it then he'll be hard to beat. I have him as a better climber than Arredondo and I don't really think Kruiswijk has it in him. Rolland fails to convince and whilst Quintana might fall into it, it'd require all the HC climbs to be won by the favourites and for him to be the winner on both of them. He'll definitely be high up in the rankings if he finishes the tour though. Would expect the number of riders in Yellow to go over 5.5 too. With an ITT, Mur, Cobbles and TTT before a mountains stage I think we'll see some swings. Not to mention the likelihood of crosswinds on stage 2 as well.

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Hello again haven't much time for write ups this year, I have a life now thank god. laugh4 :lol. Looking at GC, people talk about the big 4, I'd say big 3. Nibali has no chance in my opinion unless the other 3 crash out (which is a big chance with Alien and Bertie). At the prices I don't fancy any at the moment. Contador had a hard Giro and it is next to impossible to win both unless you are the super human Pantani, or the legendary Hinault or Merckx. Froome eventhough he had a good Dauphine he is a liability on a bike and at the price can't be touched. Quintana hasn't had a great year overall, he was poor by his standards in pais Vasco and Romandie, that with being the weakest of the big 4 in the TT. he is a no bet for me at the moment. I think anyone with a brain will wait and see how the 1st week pains out with GC. Green Jersey While Sagan should win this and he probably will, he is very short in my opinion. I don't think Cavendish will win, I think Kristoff and Degenkolb will take points from Sagan this year. I think Degenkolb is a big price, he will be int first 5 in the flat sprints and will challenge Sagan in the tougher one's so he looks a great price for top 3. KOM Impossible to pick but 2 at very good prices are Barguil 33/1 and Kruijswijk 33/1 both skybet. Team classification. I give sky no hope in this and they are favourites. While they have the best team, they will be riding flat out for Froome, the same can be said for Saxo and Astana. I think it will be between Moviestar and Lotto. Moviestar won't go all out with Quintana and Lotto have 4 consistent riders in Gesink, Kelderman, Ten-Dam and Kruijswijk who will finish high in the mountains consistently. . Top 10 finish Most are odds on, but a few odds against that have a right chance Kelderman, Rolland and Talansky. Stage 1 bar falling off the bike Martin will win stage 1 easily. Bets. 2pts e/w Degenkolb 14/1boyles pts jersey. 1pt e/w Barguil and Kruijswijk 33/1 both skybet. KOM. 2pt win Moviestar team 5/1 PP and 1pt e/w Lotto 7/1 VC. TOP 10 Talansky 7/4, Kelderman 11/4 and Rolland 2/1 2pts all with Boyles. stage 1 Martin will 5 pts evens generally.

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Ah, all the faces I wanted to see are on the forum :) Since rule changes that made higher mountains more important, only those in the elite climbing group have been able to win the KOM (Sammy Sanchez, Voeckler, Quintana, Majka), with the yellow jersey often finishing a close second. I do feel more of the non-finish climbs are unimportant to the GC race this year, so perhaps a non-elite could compete given favourable peloton/breakaway politics. But also, 3 of the 7 HCs are finishes, so a Quintana winning accidentally is very possible. Mustn't forget that four year precedent though. Finishes: 3x HC - 50, 40, 32, 28, 24, 20 16, 12, 8, 4. 1x 1st Cat - 20, 16, 12, 8, 4, 2. 1x 2nd Cat - 10, 6, 4, 2. Non-finishes: 4x HC - 25, 20, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2. 5x 1st Cat - 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1. 11x 2nd Cat - 5, 3, 2, 1. The only Cat 3s worth bothering with are the cluster at the start of stage 18. Anyway, there are essentially no points on offer before the Pyrenees, so it might be better to hold fire until at least stage 10. I'm just gonna wait and see who loses time, and probably consider how strong riders look on stages 3, 8 and even 10. Remember, a lot of easier points are available very, very late this year.

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Not keen on betting against Sagan for green or Quintana for polka-dot... bit of a boring outset to the tour really. But time trials are one place where I am happy to back favourites, so let me jump on the bandwagon with Martin (evens - general) to win stage 1.

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For stage 1, I kinda like Sagan e/w@80/1 (Boylesports) given the distance of the course and his power to surge out of some tight-ish turns. I don't know if he's capable of getting away from someone like Martin on stage 3 to take yellow, but I hope that possibility is in his mind. If he's up for it, he could place. I wanted just a price for a place, but the pure place odds are the same betting each-way.

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King of the mountains Simon Yates ew 66/1 most bookies Predicting the King of the mountains winner is tricky for a variety of reasons. You never know for sure who is going to go for it or if an overall GC contender could win it inadvertently. The likes of Rolland and Arrendondo will undoubtedly be aiming for it and should be there or thereabouts. Former winner Quintana is the clear favourite but his priority will surely be the overall GC so the overall contenders will not let him break away. One man who could come into contention at a big price is Simon Yates. He looked in the form of his life in the Criterium du Dauphine finishing 5th overall. He rode away from many big names on the climbs showing some exceptional climbing ability. If he can sustain his form over the much longer tour he is certainly a lively outsider. Admittedly unlike some Yates may not set out to target the King of The Mountains jersey. He is more likely to target stage wins; however he may inadvertently find himself in contention and have to reassess his aims. Another thing in his favour is that if he breaks away he won’t be chased by GC contenders as he won’t be seen as a threat.

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Cav should win tomorrow but a bit short for me considering wind and weather.. I'd rather have Kristoff 6/1 e/w and Degenkolb 20/1 e/w both with betfred 2pts e/w Kristoff 6/1 1pt e/w Degenkolb 20/1

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Quite like the 7/1 about on Martin myself. Valverde's LFW record speaks for itself but not sold on his form right now. Martin will have been building for this and has marked it off as a big objective, whereas I'm not sure if Valverde has prepared to be better in the final week of mountains. If he's on top form he'll win, it's just a question of whether he is.

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40/1 EW Bauke Mollema - looks a massive price. He's in form as proved his excellent time trial, yesterday not quite his day but sure he has marked today as D-day. Wasn't far behind here in the Fleche last season when 4th, climbs well and while probably held on paper by Valverde he's a definite contender and overpriced in my book

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Being the best in the Classics doesn't necessarily mean you'll be the best on a Classic stage in the Tour - today, you have the race against the world's greatest riders while they are in peak condition. I think it's going to be difficult to break away from the peloton late in the stage. If I were more convinced of his condition, I'd have a big bet on Nibali to win @46, and to place @12 (both w/Betfair), but I still think it's worth a standard stake. Also, I don't know how much energy Team Sky would want him using on this finish, but Geraint Thomas @150 (Betfair) seems worth a look at the price.

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lol - Lemond's giving the same view as I said in the pre-race show. He mentioned the time bonuses as well - I forgot about those (10s for 1st, 6s for 2nd, 4s for 3rd). That makes Froome @50/1 (Ladbrokes) & Contador @66/1 (Betfred) good value each-way bets as well.

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Having a right nightmare so far with the pre race bets not looking in the best of shapes at the moment and I backed Cav at 11/8 to win stage 2 whilst Kittel was priced up after he said he wasn't going. Backed Valverde today as well. Froome is in very good shape at the moment, but more time to be won and lost tomorrow.

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Sep VANMARCKE stage 4 winner 11/1 Bet365 Sep Vanmarcke is a cyclist who excels on the cobbles and will almost certainly target this stage. He performed well in a similar cobbled stage in last year’s tour. Vanmarcke was being paced by his teammate Lars Boom, but unfortunately punctured at an inopportune moment leaving Boom to take the win. If it wasn’t for the puncture I feel sure that he would have won. A similar performance on the cobbles this year is highly likely.

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I'm sure Degenkolb will have marked this stage with a big fat red cross in his calendar. He's such a tough guy, pretty confident he'll be in the right position when it matters throughout the race and will be hard to beat - Degenkolb @ 4/1 Coral

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The rain doesn't look like coming today so I don't think the cobbles are not going to be a huge issue. This is not the Paris Roubaix and the cobble sections are not that difficult with the last section being 13K from the finish. I expect a group of the powerful strong riders at the finish in a reduced sprint. Degenkolb has to be favourite with Kristoff, Sagan and Greipel fancying there chances. The 4 I'm taking are. Griepel 16/1 is looking strong doesn't fear the cobbles and will go very close in a sprint. Gallopin 50/1. Looked super strong yesterday in a stage that didn't suit, has a very strong team for the cobbles. He is also excellent in reduced sprints. Martin 66/1. Tony will be gunning for yellow today. Has a top 20 in the cobble stage from last year. If he is there near the end expect him to go solo for the stage win. Trentin 66/1. Finished 9th in last years stage and would have finished higher only for Kwiatkowski puncturing. Won a stage in a reduced sprint in the tour last year, I expect him to be close at the end.

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