Cycling: Time for a tickle on Mikel?

The final mountain stage of the 2018 Tour, and it’s a real classic of the Pyrenees including the Aspin, the mighty Tourmalet and a final drag up the double peaked Aubisque.

In the battle for yellow, we can all but ignore Froome barring an early and unlikely Thomas collapse.  Dumoulin doesn’t look to have the legs to attack, and it looks more likely that Primoz Roglic will take up the baton.  A world class time trialist he can strengthen legitimate podium claims with a strong day here.

For the stage win though, it looks likely that the pattern of a big breakaway group will be repeated, and will probably be allowed a big enough lead by Sky to claim the bonus seconds.

Break regulars Alaphilippe and Majka have strong claims, but this is a classic Pyrenean stage and we expect a big Spanish effort.

Valverde and Fraile catch the eye, but compatriot Mikel Nieve is at least a match for them at his best.  An ex Sky man, he was unlucky not to win in the Alps when overhauled late on by an apologetic Thomas.

We’ll trust that some very quiet days since have been about preserving energy for this landmark day, and if he makes the break he could well be the best climber in the group.

Recommendation: To win Stage 19 of the Tour De France, Mikel Nieve, 1pt win, 16/1 generally available 

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