Cycling: Froome at the Top….

Yesterday’s exciting stage saw us secure a win with our first dip into 2017 Vuelta stage betting courtesy of Rafal Majka’s well judged breakaway.

Sunday’s stage climbs relentlessly to finish at the high point of this year’s race.

Breakaways have found it hard to last home in this Tour, only Majka of yesterday’s group survived the pursuit of the peleton.  This monster stage does not look suitable for breakaways, this is destined for the big dust-up between the main red jersey contenders.

Miguel Angel Lopez may look an obvious favourite.  He has climbed with the lead group twice of late, and been allowed to break clear late on for one win and one second as he bears little threat to Froome’s red jersey.  That said, he didn’t respond to the attacks of Nibali and Contador on yesterday’s stage, relying on Froome to pace him back.  Today could be the ultimate showdown and it may just be too much for him at these short odds.

Contador, Nibali and Froome look like the big guns, and they should be the last men standing at the final summit.

Both Contador and Nibali distanced Froome at times yesterday, but the red jersey wearer is expert at biding his time, measuring his effort, maximising his team resources, and then surging home.

The monster finish here has some steep early stages, but the finale is the kind of marathon slog of gradual ascent that perfectly suits Froome’s team and his personal style.

He will want to rubber stamp his position with the rest day to follow.  Although he has a time trial to come, he knows that no lead is too great when the notorious ascent of Angliru, the most wicked in professional cycling, still awaits at the end of the week.  Expect to see him surge to a win here.

We don’t fancy a breakaway, and it’s hard to see much of a surprise from the peleton.  Richard Carapaz looks lively but is short enough in the market.  American TeJay van Garderen is not the challenger for overall honours he once looked likely to be.  That said he lies 12th and this long slow climb may suit him more than the steep sharp climbs to date.  He is dismissively long odds for a guy capable of raising his game.

Recommendation: To win Stage 15:

Chris Froome, 2pts win, 7/1 generally available 

TeJay van Garderen, 0.5pts each way, 300/1 Paddy Power

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