Bookmakers predict closest Tour de France finish since 2011

Spread-betting firm Sporting Index cannot split Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana as its favourites to reach Paris in yellow

Chris Froome Lead Nairo Quintana, Tour de France 2013, stage 18
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

Many informed observers have billed this year's Tour de France as the closest for some time - and it looks like the bookies agree.

Since Cadel Evans saw off Schleck brothers Andy and Frank four years ago by 1-34 and 2-30 respectively, the winning margins have been relatively comfortable - to the extent, of course, that 'comfortable' is ever a word that can be applied to a Tour de France victory.

From Bradley Wiggins seeing off Chris Froome by 3-21 in 2012 to Vincenzo Nibali finishing more than seven and a half minutes clear of Jean-Christophe Peraud last year, it is a little while since the Tour has felt like a close contest - at least according to the race clocks (opens in new tab).

But spread-betting firm Sporting Index has 2013 top two Froome and Nairo Quintana, separated by 4-20 two years ago, fighting a much tighter battle this time round.

>>>Watch: Tour de France 2015 preview – the contenders (video)

The bookmaker has set the winning margin at 150 seconds (or 2-30 in old money), while 'buying' either man will return a profit on their 'General Classification Index' if they finish in the top two.

Among the other special bets available, it predicts that gruelling nature of the parcours will see the back of 37 of the 198 starters, with the final finisher rolling in four and a half hours behind the winner.

That kind of gap has only been seen once since 2003, in last year's Tour. Then, six riders finished more than five hours back - and pity poor Cheng Ji (opens in new tab), who lost more than six hours to Nibali - 164th and last on the Champs-Elysées, and 164th and last overall.

Cycling Weekly's experts discuss the Tour de France contenders

Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.