The Tour de France 2019 is not far away, with the riders looking to be in yellow when the peloton hits the Champs-Élysées using two stage races in June to get their legs ready for 21 days of hectic racing around France.
One of these races is the Critérium du Dauphiné, which offers up a number of stages that look to replicate days in the upcoming Tour to entice riders to sign on and recon the parcours.
Another option is the Tour de Suisse, a prestigious race in its own right, which features a number of mountains and a time trial over nine days of racing.
But who will go the distance and pick up a confidence-boosting overall victory in Switzerland before they head across the border to France for the main event in July? Well, who better to turn to in this quest for knowledge than society's most pre-eminent philanthropic benefactors, the bookies.
Defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos) is favourite to take the overall victory, with his odds being at evens. The Welshman won the Critérium du Dauphiné last year in the run-up to his first ever Grand Tour victory, and has now switched to the Swiss stage race as his preparation for July. Thomas has raced the Tour de Suisse twice before, finishing second in 2015 and in 17th place in 2016.
In his return to racing after a collarbone break during a training ride ruled him out of the Giro d'Italia 2019, Egan Bernal (Ineos) is second favourite, valued at 7/2 to take his second win of 2019 after victory at Paris-Nice in March. Following Chris Froome's bad crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné, these two riders will be key to Ineos' success at the Tour de France.
Next up is Enric Mas (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), who will be looking to improve on his fourth place finish in last year's race, and is third favourite to take the win at 15/2. After his impressive second place finish at the 2018 Vuelta a España, Mas will be looking for another high finish in the overall classification in his first ever Tour de France this July.
After finishing second to Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) at the Tour de Romandie, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) finds himself amongst the favourites at the Tour de Suisse, with odds of 14/1. Movistar's Marc Soler is offered at the same price, and is likely to provide key assistance to Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa next month in France. But before that he will have nine days in Switzerland where he can ride for himself and try to get a result.
Next up is a trio of talented riders from teams who have other options in mind for the Tour de France, and have therefore been handed the Tour de Suisse as a chance to impress. Wilco Kelderman (Jumbo-Visma) is valued at 15/1, with team-mate Steven Kruijswijk riding the Dauphiné ahead of the Tour. Vincenzo Nibali's lieutenant Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) looked strong at the Giro d'Italia but will not travel to France, he's 16/1 to take home a win for himself, whilst Rohan Dennis another Bahrain-Merida rider and world time trial champion, is at 20/1.
Katusha-Alpecin's Simon Špilak has won the race on two previous occasions, in 2015 and 2017, and is 22/1 to make it three, with the Slovenian always finishing inside of the top 10 in the race every time he's started it since 2013.
Closing out the top 10 is Hugh Carthy, who comes off the back of a Giro d'Italia where he made a name for himself not just because of his frankness in post-race interviews, but his willingness to attack and light up the race. The Brit finished 11th in the overall classification, more than 16 minutes down on winner Richard Carapaz (Movistar), but Carthy is 33/1 to record what would be his biggest career win to date.
Tour de Suisse 2019 odds (Winner - Oddschecker)
Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos – 1/1
Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos - 7/2
Enric Mas (Esp) Deceuninck - Quick-Step - 15/2
Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates - 14/1
Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar - 14/1
Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma - 15/1
Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida - 16/1
Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain-Merida - 20/1
Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin - 22/1
Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First - 33/1
All odds correct at time of publication
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