By Jonny Long
The Tour de France 2019 is well underway, with the first week flying by in a whirl of spectacular racing, crashes, undulating French countryside as well as all the oddities of the biggest race on the WorldTour calendar.
The French Grand Tour is one of the best races to bet on, with 21 chances to pick an 80/1 outsider to get themselves into a breakaway and hold off the peloton, the monetary reward only a welcome additional prize to the bragging rights of pulling off such a feat.
While picking stage winners may be easier than determining who will win the overall classification this year, our benevolent overlords of the gambling industry can help provide some insight into who is favoured to emerge victorious once the bunch gets to Paris at the end of July.
The bookies guess is as good as yours when it comes to picking between the two favourites to climb to the top step of the podium on the Champs-Élysées, clad in yellow.
After a week of racing the GC picture has become a little clearer, with some contenders bowing out and resolving to contest stage victories.
Geraint Thomas (Ineos), however, remains favourite to claim his second consecutive yellow jersey, after hushing his critics and showing his form is up there with the main contenders.
After reaching the summit of La Planche des Belles Filles ahead of all of his GC rivals on stage six, the Welshman sits in a great overall position, with the majority of the race still to come. He's now valued at 4/5 after an initial price of 11/4 before the start of stage one.
His team-mate and co-leader at Ineos, Egan Bernal, was also offered at 11/4 before a kilometre had been raced, but with a four second deficit to Thomas, indicating the young Colombian will support his team-mate in the mountains, Bernal is now second favourite, with a price of 9/2.
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) is the favourite Frenchman to secure a first Tour victory for the hosts since Bernard Hinault in 1985, and his attack on stage eight saw him take valuable seconds out of his rivals, rising to the top of the pile of the riders who will contend the yellow jersey when the race hits the high mountains. An initial price of 18/1 has been reduced to 5/1.
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) is fourth favourite, slipping from odds of 11/2 after his Critérium du Dauphiné victory to 12/1 after a first week marred by a crash on stage one.
The Dane appears to be okay, though, and sits only 30 seconds behind Geraint Thomas on GC.
The standout rider of the Tour so far has been Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step). The swashbuckling Frenchman attacked on stage three to take the victory and yellow jersey, before going on the offensive to reclaim it on stage eight after losing it to Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) up La Planche des Belles Filles. The Milan - San Remo is now 18/1 to stay in yellow until he reaches the Champs-Élysées in two weeks time.
Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) will be looking to finish his first Tour de France since 2016, having crashed out of the previous two editions, and is now 22/1 to win his first ever Grand Tour, having moved slightly from his pre-race price of 14/1.
Three podium places earlier in the decade has given way to 12th and 10th place finishes in the last two years, but Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is still looking for a Tour de France victory to complete his set of Grand Tour wins. He was at the same price but is now slightly favoured to the Australian, being offered at 20/1.
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) is supported by his twin brother Simon at the Tour, returning the favour as Adam helped him to his 2018 Vuelta a España title. But unlike his brother's confidence before this year's Giro Adam says he hopes to podium come the end of July. Valued at 11/1 at the start of the race, his price has now gone out to 32/1.
Movistar's ill-fated trident ambush on the overall classification at last year's race is well documented, and may be coming to an end with Mikel Landa heavily linked with a switch to Bahrain-Merida next year. However, the Spaniard could be a dark horse for the title after riding to a fourth-placed finish at the 2019 Giro d'Italia, his ambitions somewhat curtailed by needing to give the necessary support to team-mate Richard Carapaz who found himself in the overall lead, successfully defending it all the way to Rome. Landa is 33/1, previously being 20/1, to double Movistar's Grand Tour win tally for 2019.
Steven Kruijswijk takes over Jumbo-Visma's Grand Tour leadership after Primož Roglič faltered in the third week of the Giro. Kruijswijk is the most likely Dutchman to take victory after Dumoulin pulled out of the race and was 22/1, now doubling to 40/1 to be the third ever Dutchman to win, with Joop Zoetemelk being the most recent in 1980.
Tour de France 2019 odds at the end of week one (Winner – Oddschecker)
Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos - 4/5
Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos) - 9/2
Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ - 5/1
Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana - 12/1
Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step - 18/1
Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar - 20/1
Richie Porte (Aus) - 22/1
Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott - 32/1
Mikel Landa (Esp) Movistar - 33/1
Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma - 40/1
Tour de France 2019 odds at the start of the race (Winner – Oddschecker)
Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos – 11/4
Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos – 11/4
Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana – 11/2
Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott - 11/1
Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo - 14-1
Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar - 14/1
Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ - 18/1
Mikel Landa (Esp) Movistar - 20/1
Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma - 22/1
Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale - 25/1
All odds correct at time of publication
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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