With the Tour de France, the best three weeks of any cycling fan’s year, on the horizon you may want to make things even more interesting with a bet.
Last year Chris Froome went into the race as the odds on favourite, but in 2018 with the uncertainty over how his form will hold up after the Giro d’Italia and his salbutamol case still up in the air, the Brit isn’t the stand-out favourite of 12 months ago.
That said, in a field of 176 riders, Froome’s odds of around 2/1 are still pretty short, with all the major bookmakers having him as the favourite to pick up his fifth Tour triumph.
12 months ago Richie Porte sat at 2/1 going into the race, and despite the uncertainties around Froome the Australian is actually a slightly longer shot than back then. However a good performance in winning the Tour de Suisse has seen those odds shorten in recent days, so if you fancy Porte for the yellow jersey then it may be worth getting your money down at 3/1.
Next up come a duo of Movistar riders, but with the bookies split on who is more likely to win. Fourth place last year while riding in support of Chris Froome, Mikel Landa‘s odds range from 5/1 to 9/1, while Nairo Quintana, a three-time podium finisher in Paris, is available at anything between 4/1 and 13/2.
As for Alejandro Valverde, the third man in Movistar’s triple-pronged Tour attack, the Spaniard’s odds took a hit after he had to pull out of the Tour de Suisse through illness. A strong showing in his victory at the Route d’Occitanie though has seen them reduce from 30/1 to around 20/1 in line with Tour of Slovenia winner Primož Roglič, while Suisse runner-up Jakob Fuglsang has seen his odds slashed to 16/1.
Like Bardet, Geraint Thomas also doesn’t seem to have benefited from a strong Dauphiné performance, with the Welshman being priced at 14/1, surprisingly alongside Giro d’Italia runner-up Tom Dumoulin (although some bookies have the Dutchman as low as 7/1).
Second and fourth at the Dauphiné, Adam Yates and Dan Martin also aren’t particularly fancied by the bookies at 28/1 and 40/1 respectively, but certainly look like better value than Simon Yates who you can back at 40/1 even though he’s not actually riding the race after contesting the Giro d’Italia.
Of course the great unknown in all of this is Froome’s ongoing salbutamol, which has led to many bookmakers including Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred to only offer odds for the winner without Froome.
In that market Porte is the 9/4 favourite, followed by Quintana at 4/1 and Landa at 6/1, while Dumoulin’s odds have also been slashed to put him as the equal of Nibali at 9/1.