Richard Carapaz of Ecuador, left, strains as he tries to follow Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar during the eighth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 150.8 kilometers (93.7 miles) with start in Oyonnax and finish in Le Grand-Bornand, France,Saturday, July 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
- Stage 17 of the 2021 Tour de France (Wednesday, July 14) is the penultimate day of serious climbing this year
- Bastille Day brings 177 kilometres in the Pyrenees with three monster climbs in the final third of the afternoon
- Will Tadej Pogacar strengthen his lead, or will someone be able to crack him?
It feels right that the Tour de France features a treacherous stage in the mountains on Bastille Day.
While efforts to catch defending champion Tadej Pogacar have been unsuccessful thus far, two Category 1 climbs plus an HC challenge over the final 50 kilometres on Wednesday give chasers an opportunity.
On Tuesday, Patrick Konrad was a part of the breakaway, attacked on the Col de Portet d’Aspet, and got to the line 42 seconds ahead of a group that included Sonny Colbrelli and Michael Matthews. It is the first career stage victory for Konrad. The GC race was unchanged.
Pogacar (+250) is once again the favorite on Stage 17. While he has clearly been the best overall rider this year, his only stage victory came during an Individual Time Trial. Will he go for broke when things get going Wednesday at 7:05 am ET? Who else is likely to contend?
Let’s look carefully at the Stage 17 odds seeking out some value in our potential wager.
Tour de France Stage 17 Odds
|Rider||Odds to Win at DraftKings|
|Miguel Angel Lopez||+1800|
|Enric Mas Nicolau||+2500|
|Johan Esteban Chaves||+2800|
|Wout Van Aert||+3500|
Odds as of July 13th.
At this stage in the proceedings Pogacar is happy to get through uneventful stages. Each day like Tuesday, when he can ride in the peloton, save some energy, and keep his sizeable lead are wins.
While the action on Stage 16 took place near the front, the peloton finished nearly 14 minutes behind. With GC riders recognizing that Wednesday and Thursday will be tiring days of climbing, nobody made a big move.
Pogacar holds a 5:18 advantage over Rigoberto Uran, with Jonas Vingegaard 5:32 back in third place. Just a second off the podium, Richard Carapaz is 5:33 behind the leader. Ben O’Connor is in fifth position, 5:58 back of Pogacar.
Stage 17 departs from Muret and isn’t overly ambitious out of the gate. In fact, a little more than the first 100 km are essentially flat. The three enormous climbs get going about 130 kilometres into the day.
The Col de Peyresourde gets things started. It is a 13.2 kilometres climb with a 7% average gradient. After that, there is a downhill ahead of the the Col d’Azet-Val Louro, a 7.4 kilometres challenge at 8.3%. Immediately after the descent comes the Col du Portet, which is 8% or better almost the entire 16 km’s. The final kilometre is 10% and leads to the finish line.
2022 FIFA World Cup Odds Tracker
As has been the case in most mountain stages, those who aspire to win the yellow jersey must attack Pogacar. The number of chances to do so are dwindling. Who could be successful on Wednesday?
Let’s look at some worthwhile options for Stage 17.
It is unclear if Pogacar can be beaten at this point barring a mechanical issue, injury, or significant mistake. That said, he is going to get jabbed at throughout Stage 17 and 18. While it is one thing to predict he won’t crack and eventually will be the champ, it is another to believe he is going to win the day.
Pogacar has routinely responded when attacked this year. In fact, he has been known to counter and gain time on opponents who think they can derail him. That said, he has not won a mountain stage yet in 2021. Indeed, he appears to be the top rider by a significant margin. However, the ultimate prize is in sight, does he want to collect minor awards along the way?
While Pogacar is probably the most likely winner on Wednesday, what are his actual chances? No one person in the breakaway has a better shot at eclipsing him, but what about the group as a whole, plus all the other riders, whether they are in the GC or just uphill specialists? In order to take a +250 price you need to be convinced he has a 30% chance of winning? That isn’t crazy, but let’s look at some other options.
In two weeks there has been exactly one time that Pogacar looked like he was in trouble. Vingegaard attacked and briefly dropped him during the second ascent of Mont Ventoux. Sure, Pogacar caught on the descent, but being able to pressure him and see results is super impressive, particularly since this stage does not have a descent after the final climb.
The passing of the torch at Team Jumbo–Visma may have taken place in this year’s Tour. Primož Roglič never looked right, crashed, and later abandoned, while Vingegaard has been excellent. The young Dane won March’s Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali, and was second in April’s Tour of the Basque Country. Does he have a 20% shot at winning Stage 17? If so, he makes for a solid option.
Just a few stages in to this year’s Tour, it was apparent Carapaz would lead Team Ineos. The dominant team in the race for most of the last decade is in good hands with a former the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España champ.
Like Vingegaard, the time is now for Carapaz to make a move. He will have the support of a rock-solid team to mount his attack, but thus far Pogacar has repelled all challenges. Carapaz needs a 12% chance to win this stage to make him a good bet at this price.
Pogacar is going to be marking Vingegaard and Carapaz closely. While GC riders often dominate mountain stages as the race gets close to the finish line, we have seen the breakaway succeeded multiple times in this race because they are unthreatening to the podium contenders.
At +1600, you only need Nairo Quintana’s chances to be 6% in order to make him a good play. Uran or Miguel Angel Lopez need to win 5.5% of the time to give them value. Sepp Kuss is +2000, meaning he needs to have a 5% shot to be worthwhile. David Gaudu at +2500 is not crazy either, and needs just a 4% chance to justify a wager.
If you believe a breakaway can survive, Gaudu is a Frenchman on Bastille Day, always an angle worth considering since motivation is extremely high. He has two career Vuelta stage victories.
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.