Nibble at Nibali to top general classification

Vincenzo Nibali
No cyclist has won back-to-back Tour de France titles and kept them since Miguel Indurain in the early 1990s. That is the task ahead of Chris Froome and, while the British rider holds an obvious chance, one cannot help thinking that his odds are considerably shorter than they deserve to be.

Froome won the 2013 Tour de France by four minutes and 20 seconds from Nairo Quintana, with Joachim Rodriguez (5:04), Alberto Contador (6:27) and Roman Kreuziger (7:27) rounding out the top five in the general classification. Froome was a deserving yellow jersey winner and punters who backed him to succeed Bradley Wiggins as the champion had few worries.

Fast forward 12 months ago and bookmakers are offering about the same odds on Froome winning this year’s Tour de France as they were on him taking out last year’s edition. Froome merits favouritism but his 2014 form ahead of the biggest race on the cycling calendar is not in the same class as that that he brought into the 2013 contest. Froome crashed during the Criterium du Dauphine and, after leading that competition for the first six stages, fell away over the final two days to finish 12th behind Andrew Talansky.

Odds of 2.00 with BetVictor and William Hill are the best that are available about Froome retaining his Tour de France crown. At those odds, one is going to oppose the champion.

Contador is an obvious alternative to Froome. After all, Contador has won the Tour de France previously and not had it taken away from him, he should have been victorious in this year’s Criterium du Dauphine and he has a stronger group of cyclists supporting him than 12 months ago. One’s issue with Contador is not Contador’s fault: he was trading at double-digit odds at the beginning of 2014 and one feels as though betting at odds of 2.88 with Spreadex now would be akin to rocking up late to a friend’s 21st birthday party.

Of the Tour de France market leader, Vincenzo Nibali is the pick of the prices at 12.00 with Youwin. Nibali did not take part in last year’s 100th edition of the race, choosing to focus on the Giro d’Italia, which he won. Nibali reappeared in last year’s Vuelta a Espana, finishing second because it seemed as though he made a conscious decision not to expend all his energy in the final few stages what with the world titles just around the corner. Nibali ended up second, 37 seconds behind surprise Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner.

Critics of Nibali will point to his Tour de France record of 20th on debut in 2008, seventh in 2009 and third in 2012 as being below the required standard. Admittedly, Nibali is not a Tour de France champion like Froome and Contador but in 2012 he lost 3:54 in time trials to second-placed Froome – the overall gap between the pair in Paris was just 2:58. Also, one must remember that Nibali had to wage a one-man war against the awesome Team Sky of Wiggins and Froome.

Nibali is worth supporting in Tour de France yellow jersey betting and, if one of the outsiders is going to cause a general classification boilover, the most likely is Tejay van Garderen, who is trading at odds of 67.00 with 888sport, BetVictor and Unibet. Van Garderen is well down the betting lists because his Tour de France fell apart last year – he finished 45th 12 months ago placing fifth – but the American had legitimate excuses and he is back to his best form.

Tips Summary

Vincenzo Nibali / Tejay van Garderen to win Tour de France
Starts 5th July
Odds: 12.00 / 67.00
Where to Bet: Youwin888sportBetVictor, Unibet

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