What’s the stage like?
Relentlessly undulating. At 184km, it’s a tough day in the foothills of the Pyrenees, and whilst there aren’t any significant tests, riders do face five categorised climbs, meaning they will ascend more than 3,000m by the day’s end.
It’s likely to be a day that will favour the breakaway: not flat enough to be of interest to the sprint teams; and not hard enough for the General Classification contenders.
Who are the favourites?
In an open market that befits the betwixt and between nature of the stage, Julian Alaphilippe (12.0011/1) and Wout Van Aert (12.0011/1) are joint favourites. It’s easy to point to any number of pieces of form in Alaphilippe’s record – this season alone there’s Liege-Baston-Liege, La Flèche Wallonne and Stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico – as indicators of the chance he has here. However, he has thrown himself into the role of support rider for Mark Cavendish in the last fortnight, exemplified by the 20km-plus pull he did on the front of the peloton for him on Stage 13, so there must be a question around his reserves.
Likewise Van Aert. His win on Stage 11 – the double ascent of Ventoux – was remarkable enough for a rider that is not considered an out-and-out climber, but it has taken a further daily recalibration to realise that was the same rider who has been sniffing around sprint finishes like that on Stage 10.
It would be no surprise to see either Alaphilippe or Van Aert winning, but neither is value.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
Name any number of riders who excel in hilly breakaways.
Matej Mohoric (20.0019/1), Magnus Cort Nielsen (26.0025/1), Michael Woods (30.0029/1) and Omar Fraile (30.0029/1) all have valid claims, but that list could be extended to 20 riders and there would still be danger of missing the eventual winner.
The best bet, though, is likely Sonny Colbrelli (32.0031/1). This is on the harder end of stages that Colbrelli excels at, but we saw on Stage 9 into Tignes that he is not just a fast man who can climb a bit, but someone who can challenge the best when the road goes uphill.
What effect will it have on the overall markets?
Colbrelli’s motivation for this stage might come from the Points Classification. If he intends to keep his challenge alive for the Green Jersey, then he has to commit on stages like this where he can hurt the three who currently sit ahead of him.
Mostly, though, this will be a day for seeing Nairo Quintana head off with the breakaway to hoover-up points in the Mountains Classification, and for watching the General Classification guys nervously mark each other, hoping none of their rivals try anything too ambitious when they are trying to save their energy for the Pyrenees that await them.
*Odds correct at the time of writing