What’s the stage like?
About as straightforward as they come for the sprinters. 190km, with one Category Four climb early on and nothing much thereafter, this is almost guaranteed to end in a bunch sprint.
That bunch sprint will barrel down the wide, straight Boulevard Winston Churchill, which offers no excuses: the fastest sprinter should win.
The only caveat to all of that is if the infamous Mistral blows, causing crosswinds, echelons and breaks in the peloton. Winds are forecast.
Who are the favourites?
Given that most of the top-name sprinters are now absent from the race – Caleb Ewan went on Stage 3, and he is now joined by Tim Merlier and Arnaud Demare, who both exited on Stage 9 – Mark Cavendish is the rightful favourite for stage honours at around 2.747/4.
There are risks, of course, but if he can be delivered by his unflappable teammates at the right time, it’s hard to see another sprinter in the race beating him for speed.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
Even when the sprinting ranks at the race were more populous, the supposed lesser lights of Nacer Bouhanni (10.009/1) and Jasper Philipsen (15.0014/1) were the most consistent speedsters on show, notching up six podium finishes between them. It does seem, though, that both are destined to always lack the explosivity in the final metres to secure a win, and they are likely destined for more of the same here.
If looking for a good-value outsider to spoil the Cavendish party, then Cees Bol (26.0025/1) is a fair choice. He’s inconsistent, but on his day has more speed than Mads Pedersen (21.0020/1), Sonny Colbrelli (21.0020/1) and Peter Sagan (22.0021/1), who are all likely to be prominent in the closing stages.
What effect will it have on the overall markets?
If the General Classification was an extra in a hospital drama, its moment of unspeaking fame would now be over, with the heroic surgeon now covering its face, turning off a droning machine, and calling the time of death. The Points Classification still has plenty of vigour, though, with an unfolding rivalry between Cavendish and Colbrelli that will run all the way to Paris. Cavendish looks value at around 2.206/5 to win it.
*Odds correct at the time of writing