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Shocks are few and far between in the Tour de France general classification and the 2016 edition lends itself to a bet in which you have a win bet on the favourite, Chris Froome, and a stake saver on the second favourite, Nairo Quintana.
No cyclist has taken out back to back editions of the Tour de France since Lance Armstrong and everyone knows how he pulled off his seven consecutive wins but one thinks that Froome has a terrific chance of achieving something that Miguel Indurain was the last lycra wearer to do fairly.
Froome debuted in the Tour de France eight years ago when he finished 84th in the general classification and 11th in the young rider competition. Froome did not reappear in the Tour de France until its 2012 renewal when he assisted his Team Sky colleague, Bradley Wiggins, to general classification glory and stood alongside him on the podium in Paris. In 2013, Froome took possession of the Tour de France yellow jersey after winning the eighth stage and he wore it all the way to Paris, his overall time being four minutes and 20 seconds faster than Quintana. Froome failed to finish the 2014 Tour de France, coming to grief in two crashes on the cobbles during stage five and withdrawing as a result of those serious incidents, one 24 hours earlier and one in the Criterium du Dauphine one month prior. But Froome regained the Tour de France crown in 2015, taking control of the race in the seventh stage and never relinquishing it, registering a one-minute and 12-seconds title triumph over Quintana.
This year did not begin well for Froome but he silenced his critics with a convincing Criterium du Dauphine victory in which he rode his rivals off his wheel on the fifth stage summit finish and defended his hard earned advantage to the end of the race. It was not just the manner of Froome’s win the Criterium du Dauphine that impressed; his domestiques were equally good. Team Sky’s strength in depth is quite remarkable so Froome is unlikely to want for friends when the going gets tough as it does when the Tour de France peloton rides through the Pyrenees and the Alps.
According to Tour de France bookmakers, only three cyclists have more than a five per cent chance of winning the general classification – Froome, Quintana and Alberto Contador. One is willing to put a line through, Contador, though. At 33, Contador’s best days are behind and the last time that he won the Tour de France – without being disqualified after the event – was in 2009. Old Father Time caught up with Contador a few years ago and one cannot understand why bookmakers are listing him at single-digit prices.
Quintana is the only logical threat to Froome. Last year’s Tour de France course did not suit Quintana as well as this year’s one and 72 seconds was all that separated him from Froome at the end of the 2015 general classification battle. Quintana fans will argue that their hero lost more than 72 seconds to Froome by being in the wrong place at the wrong time and there is something to that. Quintana has prepared for his third Tour de France tilt with a bunch of triumphs and, while his colleagues are not as strong as the ones on Team Sky, he does have Jon Izagirre and Alejandro Valverde looking out for him over the three weeks of racing action.
Froome is trading at odds of 3/2 2.50 +150 1.50 1.50 -0.67 with Boylesports and Paddy Power to win the Tour de France general classification for the third time, while Quintana is available at odds of 2/1 3.00 +200 2.00 2.00 -0.50 with several bookmakers, including Betfred, Coral and Paddy Power, to land his first victory in the yellow jersey race. Backing Froome and saving on Quintana produces a wager in which a Froome win pays odds equivalent to 67/100 1.67 -149 0.67 -1.49 0.67 and a Quintana win results in a breakeven punting outcome.
Back Froome to Win the Tour de France with a Saver on Quintana
2nd July – 24th July 2016
Odds: 67/100 1.67 -149 0.67 -1.49 0.67