C’est le 14 Juillet, and that can only mean one thing – the French riders will be gunning for a stage win on Bastille Day.
While Lotto-Soudal’s Frenchman Tony Gallopin wore the yellow jersey on stage 10 in the 2014 Tour, it’s been a decade since a home rider won on the national holiday since 2005.
That day, David Moncoutié soloed to victory at Digne-les-Bains, beating compatriot Sandy Casar by 57 seconds. Will one of the new breed of French climbers break the streak of foreign winners this year?
But here are a few other names who could feature on the first mountain stage of the 2015 Tour, with some great odds on some very accomplished riders.
Odds are taken from oddschecker.com and are correct at the time of publishing.
Thibaut Pinot (25/1 at Ladbrokes)
If there’s one rider who could desperately do with a win today it’s the FDJ youngster who has seen his Tour de France chances fall apart in the first week.
Problems on the cobbles, followed by crashes in the following days leave last year’s third-place finisher eight minutes down on Froome. A top-10 overall may still be on the cards with a few strong performances in the high mountains, but he’ll have to gain a lot of time.
He may not want to show his hand too soon, but there’s no time like the present for him to get some time back and make history. He’s well priced at 25/1 at various outlets.
Pierre Rolland (40/1 at Betfred)
Like Pinot, Rolland finds himself well out of contention, more than 11 minutes down.
And just like Pinot, Rolland needs the boost of a Bastille Day win, but more for his team than himself – Europcar is still without a sponsor for the 2016 season.
Don’t be surprised to see Thomas Voeckler go out in the break today, but it is Rolland who provides them with the best chance of a win. With two Tour stages to his name in his career, he’s got all the credentials to take the stage.
At 40/1 he’s a great each-way bet, with Betfred covering the first four places.
Warren Barguil (50/1 at Ladbrokes)
The 23-year-old has been one of the revelations of the first week, hanging around the top 10 and equiping himself well on all terrains.
He lost some time in the team time trial on Sunday, but led the team up the final climb with relative ease.
He’s only 2m43 down on Chris Froome, so a high overall finish is still on the cards, so don’t expect to see him make a long break for the win, but if it’s still close in the final stages he could spring a surprise.
Joaquim Rodriquez (9/1 at Coral)
Purito is a strange one to back for this stage, but an intriguing one at that. With one stage win under his belt already this year he’ll surely be keen to get back on the podium, but like Barguil he’s still in the hunt for at top-10 finish.
This time last year the Spaniard was well out of contention and was gunning for the polka dot jersey, but now he’s only four minutes back. Like Barguil, don’t expect him to launch a long attack, but he’s in with a great shout if it comes to a late-stage burst.
Alberto Contador (12/1 at PaddyPower)
What do we need to say about Contador? He’s done this enough times to know how to do it properly and as he showed in the Giro d’Italia, he’s not afraid to attack early in a race.
With a long climb to the final summit, he’ll be a danger in the second half of it, but don’t expect to see Froome let him go easily.
While 12/1 seems quite long odds for someone of Contador’s stature, it could be worth doubling up to have Chris Froome to place in the top three as well.
Louis Meintjes (100/1 at Betfred)
A bit of a wildcard choice from a wildcard team, but Meintjes is an unknown quantity in the Grand Tour climbs.
He’s well out of the running for the general classification – nearly an hour down already – so will be given free reign to go for the stage win if he’s feeling fresh.
Two top-10 finishes in the mountain stages at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné have shown that the South African can compete with the big boys, but a podium place could be his best shot for today.
At 100/1 you’d still get £25 from a £1 each way on the MTN-Qhubeka rider to finish in the top four.
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