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Darran

Tour de France 2016

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This forum seems rather quiet so not sure how much interest there will be, but here are my thoughts on this year's race.

Yellow Jersey

To me this year’s Tour looks a match between last year’s first and second Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana. Last year I went with Quintana and I am going to go with him again to get his first Yellow Jersey. Quintana has been in superb form this season having won the Tour of Catalonia and the Tour of Romandy. He lost the Tour in the cross winds on Stage 2 last year and he was actually quicker than Chris Froome overall in the mountains. There is more time-trialing miles this year which is in Froome’s favour, but neither time-trail is far from flat, indeed the 2nd one on Stage is pretty much uphill all the way. That means Quintana shouldn’t lose that much time on Froome. Froome has had a pretty good season as well and he seems to be coming into form at the right time. In his two Tour wins he has been at his best in the first mountain stage and then defended his advantage, but because this year’s 2nd half of the race is so tough, he is aiming to peak later in the race, especially as that is also when Quintana is at his strongest. Froome has a very strong team to back him up and that will help him, but at 26 Quintana looks to be improving and I think he is the stronger climber. There might not be a great deal in it, but especially at Betway’s 21/10 Quintana looks the value. All things being equal these two will finish first and second and it is worth having a cover bet on the Froome/Quintana forecast which is 100/30 with Betway as well as taking the 4s on it being the other way round.

 

Top 3

Alberto Contador is the only other rider in single figures, but I think he is vulnerable. Although there are various excuses for why he hasn’t won the Tour since 2009, ultimately it has to be said he just isn’t as good at the Tour as he used to be. I think he looks vulnerable for 3rd place. Fabio Aru makes his Tour debut, but he hasn’t been in the best of form and although he is no doubt looking to peak in time for the Tour I don’t really like his chances of finishing on the podium. Richie Porte left Team Sky in the winter and is now at BMC, but he always seems to have at least one really bad day in a Grand Tour. The man worth backing at 7/2 is Thibaut Pinot. He did seem to lose the plot at times in last year’s race as he couldn’t repeat his 2014 3rd. This year though will hopefully be different. He has been in strong form and crucially his time-trialing has really improved. I’m not sure he will be able to live with the big two, but he looks to have a very good chance of being best of the rest.

 

Top 10

There are two bets I like here. First off is Dan Martin who will be leading a Grand Tour team for the first time. He is a very good climber and looks well up to finishing in a top 10 place. His price has collapsed with Bet 365 in recent days having been 5/1 and is now only 6/4 with them. He can still be backed at 7/2 with some small firms, but is 3/1 with Skybet and Betway and that looks value. Geraint Thomas was on for a top 5 finish last year until he had one bad day. He will obviously be looking after Froome again, but based on last year that could easily be enough to see him in the top 10 and the 2/1 with Ladbrokes and Skybet looks worth taking.

 

Points Jersey and sprinters

I will be surprised if Peter Sagan doesn’t win the Green Jersey with ease again. He is a best price of 8/13 with Paddy Power and I couldn’t put anyone off taking that. I always have slight reservations of taking such a short price in a 3 week Tour as you never know what might happen, but he wins if he gets to Paris. Greipel was 2nd last year, but he benefitted from no Marcel Kittel and that might harm his chances of getting closer to Sagan. Kittel had illness issues last season and was never at his best. This time around is very different though and he has looked pretty much unbeatable. He should win multiple stages which might see him go close, but the problem is he has never really seemed that bothered in going for sprint points during the stage and he seems happy just to win stages. I make it 7 stages that could end in a sprint finish and Bet365’s 13/8 in Kittel winning over 3.5 looks worth taking as all things being equal he should win at least 4. Mark Cavendish is still a good sprinter, but he just can’t beat Kittel and he will need a bit of luck to pick up a stage.

 

King Of The Mountains

Ever since they changed the way they dish out the points in this competition it has become one that the GC men can finish high in. Indeed Chris Froome ended up winning it last year and Quintana was 2nd. Both are 7/1 with William Hill and Froome is that price with Paddy Power who are going 4 places as well. They both look worth backing e/w as they should both hit the frame and there is decent chance one of them can win it.

 

Team Classification

Movistar bolted up in this last year beating Team Sky by nearly an hour. I think they should go well again as they have riders who can consistently place high up on a stage and they seem happy to let one of their lesser riders get into a break, which is something Team Sky don’t do. Having said that Team Sky have possibly their strongest team yet and it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world if they got 3 riders in the top 10. This market isn’t on Oddschecker at the time of writing, but the best prices I have found is 2/1 Team Sky with Coral and 4/1 Movistar with Bet 365.

 

Stage 1

This looks a sprinters stage and it wouldn’t surprise me if Kittel went off odds on come Saturday morning. That means the 11/8 with Betway looks big as unless something strange happens it is hard to see him not winning.

 

Quintana to win Yellow Jersey 1pt

Quintana/Froome 1pt forecast

 Froome/Quintana 1pt forecast

Pinot to finish Top 3 1.5pts

Dan Martin to finish Top 10 1pt

Geraint Thomas to finish Top 10 1.5pts

Kittel to win over 3.5 stages 2pts

Quintana to win KOTM 1pt e/w

Froome to win KOTM 1pt e/w

Team Sky to win Team Classification 2pts

Movistar to win Team Classification 1pt

 

Kittel to win Stage 1 2.5pts

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Geraint Thomas' performances in Romandie and Suisse would be a concern for me. Rasch was saying he struggled with the cold in Switzerland now that he's so skinny. That tells us he has prepped for the high mountains, but it can take time for the body to adapt to weight change.

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