The Tour De France kicks off this weekend with so many imponderables given the unique circumstances under which it is occurring.
There is no doubt there will be off the road drama with the Covid rules being applied by the organisers and this further muddies the waters for selecting the winner.
As it is Jumbo rider Primoz Roglic heads the Yellow Jersey market along with last years winner Egan Bernal of Team Ineos.
The two are inseparable at 9/4 but it is the former that we prefer of the two. The Slovenian has been in scintillating form this term and looked certain to win the Criterium Du Dauphine before pulling out after a fall on the penultimate stage. This was a precautionary move and he looks primed to go close in the Tour with a strong team and lieutenant in tow (Tom Dumoulin).
Bernal is a precocious talent and Ineos have made it clear he is their leading light with the omission of Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome from the team. However there are lingering doubts about the strength of Ineos this year and for that reason we will take him on.
That being said both are well found in the market so we will look to another Slovenian for an outright interest in the form of Tadej Pogacar. The precocious talent looked in fine fettle at the Dauphine and with the UAE team behind him a strong support he could quite easily challenge for a podium place at the very least.
He is a solid climber and can easily mix it with the best in the peloton. At 14/1 he looks a value each way play as he continues his meteoric rise through the ranks of Pro Cycling.
Indeed his 3rd place finish at last years Vuelta Espana shows he has the legs for a three week challenge. That record breaking performance will live long in the memory with three stage victories at the age of 20 and he looks ripe for a big showing having gained more experience since.
The green jersey market is dominated by Peter Sagan and rightly so as he has proven untouchable in the Tour over the past six years.
But the Polka Dot Jersey is one where a bigger priced winner could easily pop up. Several teams will send riders up the road on the hilly stages and it only takes a couple of top three results for any of these breakaway riders to get into contention for the Mountain Classification.
Team EF are stacked with strong climbers headed by veteran Rigoberto Uran and ably abetted by Dauphine winner Daniel Martinez. Its a strong roster with several stage hunters in the ranks.
One of which is the young Colombian Sergio Higuita. A 3rd place finish in Paris Nice is one of many strong showings in his fledgling career and he has long been considered a prodigious talent.
With Juilan Aliphillipe heading up the Mountains market at 7/2 it gets the feel of a wide open market with so many variables at play. Higuita at 33/1 really catches the eye and depending on team duties he could be given licence to head up the road and collect some points in the first week. He is worth a small interest.
We were reluctant to leave Warren Barguil out of calculations but he will feature in our stage betting staking plan during the most fascinating of renewals of the biggest race of the year.
Tadej Pogacar, 1pt each way, in General Classification, 14/1
Sergio Higuita, 0.5pts each way, in the Mountains Classification, 33/1
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