Britain’s Mark Cavendish celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the fourth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 150.4 kilometers (93.5 miles) with start in Redon and finish in Fougeres, France, Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole, Pool)
- Stage 13 of the Tour de France (Friday, July 9) looks tailor made for a bunch sprint
- Can Mark Cavendish tie the Tour record with his 34th career stage victory?
- Where is the betting value Friday along France’s southeastern coast?
We’ve reached the point in the Tour de France where the number of healthy and powerful riders remaining pales in comparison to those battered and bruised.
Stage 12 on Thursday was expected to finish with a bunch sprint. However, an opportunistic breakaway quickly put five minutes between themselves and the peloton, and by the time Nils Politt pulled away, the masses were happy to come home safely.
GC contenders, a part of Thursday’s peloton, finished nearly 16 minutes behind Politt, who won the stage by half-a-minute over Imanol Erviti and Harry Sweeny. The GC would be content to repeat Stage 12 on Friday. Will the breakaway again take control, or will the large group hang close enough to lead to a bunch sprint?
One rider who wasn’t happy that the sprint never stood a shot on Thursday was Mark Cavendish. If he can win another stage, it will be the 34th in his career, which would tie Eddy Merckx for the most in Tour history. Cavendish (+275) is a big favorite when Stage 13 (6:15 am ET) begins. Can his Team Deceuninck–Quick-Step control the pace effectively on Friday? Let’s looks at the odds on Cavendish and his competition.
Tour de France Stage 13 Odds
|Rider||Odds to Win||Top-3 Finish Odds at DraftKings|
|Wout Van Aert||+800||+175|
|Magnus Cort Nielsen||+2500||+700|
|Soren Kragh Andersen||+3300||+1000|
Odds as of July 8th.
Stage 13 is a robust 220 kilometres from Nîmes to Carcassonne. The one climbing challenge on the day is the Category 4 Côte du Pic-Saint Loup. It comes about 50 km into the route and is 5.5 kilometres at 3.6%. The rest of the day is rather mild, but lumpy throughout.
Perhaps the sprint that was expected on Thursday will take place in Stage 13 instead. Stage 12 was on the heels of the taxing double ascent of Mont Ventoux, and the route included serious wind. Those obstacles should not be in play on Friday.
The overall race continues to be Tadej Pogacar in one class by himself, and then everyone else. Pogacar leads his closest pursuer, Rigoberto Uran, by 5:18. Jonas Vingegaard, who challenged and briefly dropped Pogacar on Wednesday, is in third place, 5:32 behind the leader. Richard Carapaz is a second behind Vingegaard. Ben O’Connor is in fifth place, 5:58 back of Pogacar.
Let’s highlight some contenders on Stage 13.
Cavendish didn’t get his chance to tie Merckx on Stage 12. He’d ideally like to win two more stages on this year’s Tour, so that he holds the record himself and doesn’t have to worry about finding a team, and the pressure of being one back or tied as he approaches his late 30’s. Who knows what sort of shape he’ll be in by the time the next sprint stage comes around, on July 16. With three sprint stages remaining, Cavendish will be all in on Friday.
Give Deceuninck–Quick-Step a mulligan for licking their wounds and not dictating terms for Cavendish on Stage 12. It would be inexcusable to see that lack of coordination a second straight day, particularly when this is Cavendish’s best shot before the variable of more climbing kicks in.
If you are a believer in Wout Van Aert, and there are very few reasons not to be, then you should like his chances on Friday. He won Wednesday’s stage in the mountains, was able to relax in the peloton on Thursday, and should have the energy to compete on Stage 13.
Van Aert is doubly dangerous on Friday. He can win a sprint, or as a part of the breakaway. Versatility pays off in stages that could go several ways, and particularly late in the race when many key riders have thrown in the towel. It doesn’t hurt that his team, Jumbo–Visma, can throw resources his way since Primoz Roglic is out, and they have no GC contenders.
At the age of 23, Jasper Philipsen has really come into his own. Last year he took a stage on the Vuelta a España, and this year he won Scheldeprijs, took the Points Classification at the Tour of Turkey, and was the runner up at the Classic Brugge–De Panne.
Four sprints have taken place at the Tour this year, and Philipsen has been the runner up twice, and finished third twice. He is very viable.
Two riders who could win the day regardless of the tactics are Kasper Asgreen and Jasper Stuyven. Asgreen won the Tour of Flanders this year and did so by outsprinting Mathieu van der Poel to the line. Stuyven, a Flanders native, was third in the race. He captured Milan–San Remo this year. Like Van Aert, but less established and therefore at a better price, Asgreen and Stuyven can win a sprint, but might benefit from being in a break too.
Nacer Bouhanni is in the same boat as Philipsen. His results in the sprints thus far are good, two seconds, a third, and a fourth place finish.
Though Bouhanni has not won a stage at a Ground Tour since 2018, he is one of a small number of riders left who seems to be in good form, and is a sprinter that can compete with Cavendish.
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.