The Critérium du Dauphiné (June 9-16) is often used by GC riders as a warm up for their tilt at the Tour de France in July and is seen by many as a good opportunity to stretch their legs ahead of the three-week stage race.
The 2019 edition of the race looks to be another hotly contested one, with a number of big names set to take the start line in Sun Aurillac on Sunday.
>>> Critérium du Dauphiné 2019 start list: Froome, Porte, Bardet & Quintana go head to head
But who will win? How do you pick a victor out of a packed field of GC talent? Well, who better to trust than those primed to make a lot of money from the race regardless of the outcome. Our benevolent bookmaker overlords.
Three-time winner Chris Froome (Ineos) is the favourite to take a fourth victory, with odds of 6/4. It has not yet been decided whether it will be Froome or his team-mate, and last year's Dauphiné and Tour winner, Geraint Thomas leading the line for the British outfit in July. Ineos team boss Sir Dave Brailsford has said it will be "the strongest rider", with Thomas riding the Tour de Suisse as his preparation for the Tour.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) is second favourite, valued at 4/1. The Dane had a strong Classics season, backing up his Monument win with second place in La Flèche Wallonne and third at the Amstel Gold Race. He's also placed well in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Basque country, finishing third and fourth in the overall respectively.
Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) went to the Tour de Suisse for his Tour de France preparations last year and won the race, beating Jakob Fuglsang and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) by over a minute. As he switches to the Dauphiné, he's third favourite at 7/1 to emerge victorious.
Richard Carapaz's win at the Giro d'Italia means the pressure is slightly off Movistar to deliver victories, but Nairo Quintana will be leading the line for the Spanish team at the Dauphiné. His second place at last year's Tour de Suisse was followed up by a disappointing 10th place finish in the GC at the Tour, and will be hoping his change of warm-up will see him go better this year. His odds for the Dauphiné are 9/1.
Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) abandoned the Giro d'Italia on stage five after a heavy crash the previous day. The Dutchman seems to still be suffering from those injuries and is said to be to worried about his Tour de France ambitions if he doesn't feel right at the Dauphiné. However, he's still valued at 11/1 to take the win in the week-long stage race.
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) finished second behind Thomas at last year's Dauphiné, trailing the eventual Tour de France winner by a minute. He then followed it up with a disappointing Tour, finishing well outside the top 10. The Brit will be looking to get the fortunes of the Yates brothers in 2019 back on track after Simon followed up his maiden Grand Tour victory at the 2018 Vuelta a España with a lacklustre Giro d'Italia. Adam's odds are 14/1.
Next up we have a trio of Frenchmen, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) is valued at 17/1, while Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) has odds of 20/1 to improve on last year's third place, as does Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step). The latter will be looking to follow up a blistering spring Classics season for the Belgian team with some stage wins.
Closing out the top ten is Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), valued at 22/1, who will go on to lead the Dutch team at the Tour. It is not yet confirmed whether his team-mate Primož Roglič will ride in support of him in July, with the Slovenian falling away in the final week of the Giro d'Italia, finishing third.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2019 odds (Winner – Oddschecker)
Chris Froome (GBr) Team Ineos - 6/4
Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana - 4/1
Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo - 7/1
Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar - 9/1
Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb - 11/1
Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott - 14/1
Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ - 17/1
Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale - 20/1
Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step - 20/1
Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma - 22/1
All odds correct at time of publication
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