'Nervous' Mark Cavendish one of four big favourites on stage three of the Tour de France

The Deceuninck - Quick Step rider hasn't won a Tour stage since 2016.

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Getty)

Stage three of the 2021 Tour de France represents the first opportunity for the sprinters to win - and one of the leading favourites among the bookmakers is Mark Cavendish.

The race's peloton are racing 183km from Lorient to Pontivy with an expected bunch sprint likely to be how the day finishes.

Cavendish was a late call-up to Deceuninck - Quick Step's Tour team once Sam Bennett was declared unfit to take to the start, and the Briton is highly fancied to take his 31st Tour stage win.

Now aged 36, the former world champion has won five times season since rejoining his old team and the bookmakers believe that he is third favourite to triumph on Monday afternoon, with average odds of around 7/1 on oddschecker.com

He posted on Twitter before the race that he was "nervous today for some reason," a lighthearted tweet that shows the pressure and excitement he feels.

The day's favourite is Lotto-Soudal's Caleb Ewan who is priced at a very short 5/4 in some places, the Australian regarded as the standout sprinter in the race.

Ewan won two stages of May's Giro d'Italia and he is aiming to win a stage in all three Grand Tours tours season.

It is third third appearance in the Tour de France after making his debut in 2019 in style, winning three stages including the final day in Paris.

Last year he took a further two victories and he will confident of adding to that, especially given his recent form.

The next most likely to win according to the bookmakers is Frenchman Arnaud Démare. The Groupama-FDJ rider hasn't raced against his top sprint rivals this season on too many occasions, but he has shown repeatedly in the past that he is capable of being the fastest men on the day.

Démare, who has raced four Tours prior to this edition and won two stages, is rated as a 9/2 chance by bookmakers.

Should one of the three aforementioned not have their hands in the air come the finale later this afternoon, then it could be because of Wout van Aert.

A winner of two sprint stages last year, the Jumbo-Visma man is being backed at around 9/1.

There are also similar odds for Tim Merlier, Alpecin-Fenix teammate of stage two winner Mathieu van der Poel.

>>> Follow our live blog of stage three as the sprinters await their first opportunity

The Belgian has been one of the season's most eye-catching sprinters and took a memorable victory in the Giro.

Peter Sagan, meanwhile, is a 14/1 shot, the Bora-hansgrohe rider winning seven green jerseys in the past but quite often finishing on the lower steps of sprint podiums.

Bookmakers odds for stage three of the 2021 Tour de France

Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal - 5/4
Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ - 9/2
Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck - Quick Step - 7/1
Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma - 9/1
Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix - 9/1
Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo - 12/1
Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-hansgrohe - 14/1
Cees Bol (Ned) Team DSM, 14/1

Odds taken from oddschecker.com.