The Tour de France hits the Pyrenees on Saturday for the first of two straight difficult mountain stages . Photo by @CyclingBoomer (Twitter).
- Stage 8 of the TDF (Saturday, September 5) is this year’s first trip into the Pyrenees
- Saturday will be the first of back-to-back days that strong climbers will have an advantage
- Where should you place your money when handicapping Stage 8 of the Tour de France?
Part of what makes sports great is the omnipresent unpredictability. When the Tour de France reaches the Pyrenees on Saturday, the top general classification riders, the top climbers in the race should rule the day. Then again, Stage 7 was supposed to be a straightforward day for the sprinters.
Nobody bothered to tell the peloton, which pushed the tempo so fast that most of the sprinters got dropped. One of the few who survived, Wout van Aert, captured his second stage of the race.
Through just one week, this Tour has already demonstrated the maxim that anything is possible. That said, race favorite Primoz Roglic is a very reasonable favorite for Stage 8. Does he provide the best betting value?
2020 Tour de France Stage 8 Odds
|Rider||Odds at DraftKings|
|Daniel Felipe Martinez||+1400|
|Miguel Angel Lopez||+2800|
Odds as of Sep. 4th.
The first of two serious stages in the mountains (Saturday and Sunday) will cover 140 kilometres between Cazeres and Loudenvielle. While the finish is downhill, there is major work to get there. There are two Category 1 climbs, one in the middle and one towards the end, with an Hors Categorie climb (“beyond category” climb) in between. The winner will need to be able to climb and descend quickly.
In what seemed to be a strategy to benefit their sprinter and Green Jersey candidate Peter Sagan, Bora-Hansgrohe upped the tempo so fast on Friday that most sprinters got left behind. However, Sagan dropped a chain in the build up to the finish and van Aert took his second stage of the race. Sagan recaptured the Green Jersey lead, with Sam Bennett nowhere to be seen at the end.
Adam Yates continues to be in the Yellow Jersey, three seconds ahead of Roglic. Tadej Pogacar, who was in third place, got dropped on Friday and is now 1:28 behind (16th overall). Guillaume Martin is in third position, nine seconds back of Yates.
2020 World Series Odds Tracker
Roglic and his team, Jumbo–Visma, are acting like the class of the race. They’ve won a stage, are ever present, and appear to be in control at all times.
Friday, there was a small chink in the armor when Team Ineos got moving late and caused some separation between teams.
These battles are usually decided in the mountains. But there are plenty to come and this is merely the first serious climbing stage. In the minimal climbing thus far, Roglic has looked amazing.
Do Jumbo–Visma and Roglic feel the need to assert themselves at this juncture? If so, Roglic would be a strong play. But they may look at the long game, too. There is no doubt he’ll be a factor.
Tadej Pogacar and Julian Alaphilippe are both top tier climbers and legitimate GC contenders. They also have each had issues over the last 72 hours.
Pogacar is a terrific rider who is taking part in only his second grand tour. He took three stages in the 2019 Vuelta a España.
While Pogacar has recent pedigree and has looked good in the Tour de France this year, things didn’t go well on Friday. He said that a crash in front of his team put them on the wrong side of a split, though others might suggest they were dawdling and not ready when an aggressive move was made. It cost him over a minute.
Alaphilippe was in Yellow until a bizarre situation unfolded that led to a 20-second time penalty.
While taking the feed doesn’t say anything about his riding, which has been for the most part excellent, somewhere communication was missed or there was a lack of focus.
Despite slipups, both are very talented with solid teams and are viable as the race turns to the mountains.
It is really weird that the yellow jersey is sort of the forgotten man. Sure Yates took the lead because of Alaphilippe’s mistake, but we’re still talking about a rider named the best youngster in the Tour in 2016. He finished fourth overall that year too.
His twin brother, Simon, has two Tour de France stage wins, and there is no reason that Adam can’t get one this year. At a big price, it certainly could be Saturday.
Dave Friedman has covered professional and college sports for two decades. From ESPN to the Associated Press, Regional Sports Networks, Metro Networks, and many local outlets, he has written about and broadcast major and minor events throughout the country.