Tour de France 2016 Preview: Chris Froome can stamp his name in the history books

Excitement is reaching fever pitch as the 2016 edition of the Tour de France prepares to burst into action on Saturday in the picturesque Mont Saint-Michel. The eagerly anticipated Grand Depart kick-starts a chaotic three weeks of lung-busting, lactic acid stinging, yet adrenaline fuelled action for 198 of the most finally-tuned cyclists on the planet.

The frenzied build-up has predominantly focused on the riveting rivalry between two-time winner Chris Froome and the pocket rocket Columbian Nairo Quintana, and rightly so. However, there is an ultra talented and hungry chasing pack who will each feel they have what it takes to tear up this dominant duopoly and storm to the summit of the cycling world.

Saturday 2nd July - 12.00pm OddsWon/LostBet
Tour de France    
Tips Chris Froome/Nairo Quintana 1-2 finish    Best Bet @ 10 / 3  
Chris Froome to win @ 6 / 4  
Nairo Quintana King of the Mountains @ 7 / 1  
Romain Bardet podium finish @ 10 / 1  
Geraint Thomas top-10 finish @ 9 / 4  

  • Two of the last three Tour de France have been won by Chris Froome.
  • Frenchman Romain Bardet has finished 9th & 6th in his last two Tours.
  • Peter Sagan is bidding to win his fifth consecutive Green Jersey.

The Route

The 103rd Tour de France is compiled of 21 stages spanning a grueling distance of 3,519km, venturing through France, Spain, Andorra and Switzerland. In the process drinking in the picturesque Normandy coast, then jetting through the Pyrenees, and let’s not forget the energy zapping time spent in the Alps, where the race can be won and lost, with this year’s route featuring four high-mountain finishes.

Chris Froome has history in his sights

An obvious favourite for the yellow jersey, yet a fully validated one. Defending champion Chris Froome has history in his sights as he pedals up to the start line on Saturday. The Kenyan born Englishman can join an elite group of seven cyclists - think the likes of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, and Bernard Hinault - by becoming only the eighth (legitimate) man in history to bag a hat-trick of Tour de France general classification victories.

The 31-year-old won the Herald Sun tour back in February, and recently enjoyed a third success at the Critérium du Dauphiné, beating Tour De France rivals Romain Bardet, Alberto Contador and Richie Porte. This certainly bodes well for Froome - from a historical stand point anyway - as his previous Dauphine triumphs have both preceded his prior two le maillot jeune successes.

Froome may be a short-price at 6/4 favourite (Paddy Power), however he heads over to France in sparkling form, and while it sounds obvious, he simply knows what it takes to win the most colossal cycling Tour in the world.

Danger man Nairo Quintana ready to shine

Froome’s main competitor is, surprise surprise, Nairo Quintana who has twice finished runner-up to the Englishman at the Tour de France. Last year the Columbian pushed Froome all the way in the grueling fina; mountain stages, but once again had to settle for second spot, something he will be desperate to change this time around.

Quintana has warmed-up for the showcase spectacle with victories at the Tour de Romandie and Route de Sud, and he can now be backed at 21/20 (Betway) to win the Tour, having previously won the Young Rider classification on two occasions.

But, the brilliance of Froome means the 26-year-old may play second fiddle once again, making a Froome-Quintana 1-2 finish appealing at 10/3 (Betway), while he has value at 7/1 (William Hill) to win the King of the Mountains for the second time.

Alberto Contador leads the chasing pack

Froome and Quintana hog the majority of the pre-Tour spotlight, but there are a cluster of cyclists gunning to stake their claim for the yellow jersey, including Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru, Richie Porte, Thibaut Pinot, Vincenzo Nibali, Tejay van Garderen, and Romain Bardet. However, realistically each of the above are fighting it out for a podium finish.

Contador, 13/2 with Betway, will still feel he can claim that elusive third jersey, but the stark reality is he no longer posses that devastating burst of speed that made in so very dangerous, while he also has a weaker team then the two men above him in the betting. However, the Spaniard has bagged wins at the Tours of Catalunya and Basque Country, but will need to muster all of his experience to have any hope of toppling Froome and Quintana.

Porte will be bidding to become the second Australian, after 2011 champ Cadel Evans, to win the Tour. A former domestique to Froome, has ventured out on his own to BMC Racing in pursuit of glory (20/1). The 31-year-old could well be mentally hindered by the fact he’s never finished in the top-5 of a Grand Tour, and you get the feeling one bad day could have a really negative effect on both his confidence and his chances of a podium finish.

The Astana duo of Fabio Aru (20/1) and Vincenzo Nibali (40/1) are both long shots for glory. 2014 champion Nibali recently won the Giro d’Italia for the second time, but will be Aru’s domestique at the Tour, and while he’s not expected challenge for glory, he can be backed at 6/4 for a top-10 finish.

From a French perspective the focus will be pinned on the homegrown duo of Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot. Bardet, who came 9th last year and 6th in 2014, put on a strong showing at the Dauphine, finishing 2nd to Froome, and could be worth a bet at 10/1 (Coral) to grab a podium finish this time around. One man who has a podium finish to his name is Thibaut, 3rd in 2014, however his form has been questionable in 2016 - no wins so far – and is unlikely to repeat that feat of two years ago, although he simply can’t be ruled out (7/2).

Meanwhile, Sky rider Geraint Thomas looks worth a punt at 9/4 (Unibet) to finish in the top-10 for the first time. The Welshman grabbed his highest standing last year, 15th, but will definitely feel he has what it takes to jet into the top-10 this time around. The popular 30-year-old is likely to be by Froome’s side all the way, and could even be a tempting ante-post bet at 16/1 to grab a podium finish.

Peter Sagan can storm to fifth green jersey success

Let’s not forget the ever enthralling battle to be crowned the King of the Sprints, with Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel, Alexander Kristoff, and Mark Cavendish all fighting it out in the Points Classification market.

Given he has toped the pile in each of the last four years it’s difficult to look past the immense Slovakian Peter Sagan, although he’s unsurprisingly a very short price at just 8/13, as he bids to equal Erik Zabel’s five consecutive win record.

Sagan, as always will face fierce competition, with Kittel next in the running at 9/2, while third favourite Greipel, who bagged four stage wins last year, follows at 8/1.

From a British perspective Cavendish is a long shot at 28/1 (Bet365) to win the green jersey for the second time, and first success since 2011. Cavendish’s main focus is the rapidly approaching Olympics, meaning it’s probably best to look at one of the above duo if you’re after a little bit of value in the betting. However, in truth it’s the versatile, dynamic and fearless Sagan that’s the main man here as he aims to become only the second man in history to win the Points Classification five times.

Tour de France Outright Odds

Tour de France Top-3 Odds

Posted: Thursday, 30th June 2016
Author: Jake Itson
Tags: Paddypower

Archive - Previous 5 Cycling Articles

Mark Cavendish Likely To Have Half An Eye On Rio Tour De France Stage 1 Odds In Form Kittel Will Be Tough To Beat In Sprint Finish
Mark Cavendish Likely To Have Half An Eye On Rio
29th Jun
First Grand Tour Of 2016 Vincenzo Nibali leads the betting to triumph at the Giro dItalia for a second time
First Grand Tour Of 2016
5th May
Team Sky Rider The First Brit To Win The Tour De France Twice Tour De Force Froome Due Recognition After Collecting Second Yellow Jersey
Team Sky Rider The First Brit To Win The Tour De France Twice
27th Jul
Brit Leads By Over 3 Minutes Latest Tour de France Betting Frontunner Froome Remains the Smoking Hot Favourite Ahead of the Apls
Brit Leads By Over 3 Minutes
21st Jul
A Cracking Day Expected Tour de France Stage 10 Betting Leader Chris Froome favourite to extend lead as the tour hits the Pyrenees
A Cracking Day Expected
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