Cycling: So Nairo So Far….

With the loss of Chris Froome and last year’s winner Geraint Thomas in questionable form the Tour De France has a really open feel to it for the first time in several years.

The route this year definitely favours the pure climbers and with a considerable amount of it back loaded to the last week it could see a really close intriguing battle for the duration.

Ineos Colombian sensation Egan Bernal heads up an open GC market at 9/4 and has the undoubted potential to eventually claim one of the Grand Tours. However he is unproven as a team leader and will require Ineos to be at the top of their game if he is to sustain his challenge. At the odds he is readily passed over.

Our headline pick for this years Tour is another Colombian; Nairo Quintana; who admittedly has flattered to deceive over the years. His overly negative marking and unwillingness to attack may well be forgotten this year as he looks to sign off his Movistar career and seal a big move elsewhere.

With team mates Mikel Landa – fresh from a grueling Giro – and Alejandro Valverde more a threat for stage wins this could be the ideal opportunity to finally add to his two Grand Tour wins and complete the triumvirate of wins. At 20/1 he looks a really solid each way play this year.

Rather than go all in on one cyclist we will add a second string to our bow in the form of Thibaut Pinot. Along with Quintana the Frenchman will be licking his lips at the testing route and he seems to have geared his whole season around a big performance here.  If he can maintain his form he will be very dangerous in the final week, he is no forlorn hope in a wide open renewal.

The other markets also piqued our interest this year with favourites who also look opposable with veritable value elsewhere.

In the King of the Mountains, reigning champ Julian Alaphilippe at 13/8 could be worth taking on given he may not be given too much rope by the GC men. Previous jersey winner Warren Barguil looks a viable alternative for the Polka Dot jersey.

Elsewhere Peter Sagan has had a really underwhelming season and looks extremely vulnerable in the points classification at 1/2. A true sprinter will fancy their chances of a couple of stage wins and that may be sufficient as long as they last the duration. Step forward Dylan Groenewegen who is a special talent and will be to the fore of our stage betting on numerous stages.

As a footnote Fabio Aru looks to have overcome his injury concerns and at 4/1 to be top ten in the GC looks more than fair.

Recommendations:

Nairo Quintana to win the Tour De France, 1pt ew,  18/1 (Skybet, Hills, 1/4 top 3)

Thibaut Pinot to win the TDF, 0.5pts each way, 18/1 generally available

Dylan Groenewegen to win the Points Classification, 1pt win, 5/1 generally available

Warren Barguil to win the King of the Mountains, 1pt win, 6/1 (Ladbrokes)

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