FILE – In this July 26, 2009 file photo, Mark Cavendish of Britain reacts as he crosses the finish line to win his 6th stage victory during the 21st stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 164 kilometers (101.9 miles) with start in Montereau-Fault-Yonne and finish in Paris, France, Sunday July 26, 2009. Mark Cavendish has saved the best for the end: matching cycling legend Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 Tour de France stage wins at the twilight of his storied career. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
- Stage 19 of the Tour de France (Friday, July 16) is relatively flat
- Will sprint teams control the tempo or will a breakaway survive?
- Is this the stage that Mark Cavendish sets the all-time Tour record for stage victories?
How much left do the sprinters have?
There are just three stages remaining in this year’s Tour de France. After testing mountain stages the last two days, Stage 19 and 21 set up well for speedsters. But what do they have left in the tank?
Wednesday and Thursday, as if there had been any doubts, Tadej Pogacar made clear the overall race is about him and him only. He won both serious tests, holds a 5:45 lead over Jonas Vingegaard, and leads all but five riders by 10 minutes or more.
If Mark Cavendish made it through the Pyrenees in ok shape, there is no question he’ll be all out on Friday to try and win his 35th career stage, which would set a new all-time record. That said, he needs to get in the mix. That requires not just being the best at the end but controlling the tempo so nobody steals the race over the first 200 km.
Cavendish (+175) is the favorite when Stage 19 (7:05 am ET) gets going. Other options include rival sprinters and ambitious attackers. Let’s look at the odds on Cavendish and his competition.
Tour de France Stage 19 Odds
|Wout Van Aert||+1400|
|Ivan Garcia Cortina||+2500|
|Danny Van Poppel||+4000|
Odds as of July 15 at DraftKings
The last day in the mountains looked similar to the previous one. While Pogacar deservedly gets all the headlines, Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz are clearly the next two top riders this year. At the end of Wednesday’s and Thursday’s races, the three likely podium members were alone together in the final kilometers. Each day Pogacar was marginally the strongest, with Vingegaard just behind, and Carapaz a smidge behind the young Dane.
Pogacar enters the final three days with a 5:45 advantage over Vingegaard, and a 5:51 margin against Carapaz. The race for second and third is actually fun to follow this weekend. Ben O’Connor is in fourth place, 8:18 behind the leader, while Wilco Kelderman is in fifth, 8:50 off the pace.
2022 FIFA World Cup Odds Tracker
Hand it to the Tour organizers, they never make things easy. A flat stage following two days in the mountains feels reasonable. Making it 203 kilometers, the third-longest trek of the race is no bargain. There is one climb on the trip from Mourenx to Libourne. The Category 4 uphill comes in the opening 15 km of the day. Beyond that, it is flat with relatively frequent bumps. The rolling terrain concludes with a mild downhill finish.
Let’s highlight some contenders on Stage 19.
This stage is all about Cavendish. Does he have the legs left? Could a break ruin his opportunity? Might someone else out sprint him? At the age of 36, and on the brink of retirement, he shockingly has won four stages this year and now needs just one more to break Eddy Merckx’s record that has lasted nearly a half-century.
Cavendish has seemingly secured the Green Jersey for the second time, but a 35th stage win would cement him as an all-time great. He will be all out, and his team fully dedicated to his efforts on Friday and Sunday. Can he win one or both? From a betting perspective, he is a reasonably heavy favorite, but are his chances that good?
Wout Van Aert is not your traditional sprinter, but he certainly is very capable. More of a hybrid rider who can win via breakaway, or take advantage of opportunities, he took Stage 11 this year in the mountains.
It is sincerely possible Cavendish is spent having used all his energy to get through the mountains. Van Aert has a real opportunity to try and steal Friday’s competition in the early and middle part of the stage. That said, he can win head-to-head too, though that wouldn’t be the preference of a rider who has captured four career Tour stage victories in just three editions of the race.
Tour of Flanders winner Kasper Asgreen is the three-time defending National Time Trial Champion of Denmark. He finished fifth on Stage 7 this year and was sixth on the Individual Time Trial. Like van Aert, he is viable both in a breakaway and as a sprinter.
In four Grand Tour’s Asgreen has never taken a stage, but his skill set and price require a serious look here.
Jasper Stuyven has one Grand Tour stage victory, at the Vuelta a España in 2015. Like Asgreen, he has been competitive on a couple of stages this year, finishing second in Stage 7.
Stuyven won Milan–San Remo this year, and it is reasonable to think he will be opportunistic on Friday.
With Caleb Ewan, Tim Merlier, Arnaud Démare, and Nacer Bouhanni all long gone from this year’s event, there aren’t that many pure sprinters remaining. That said, the prices are reasonable if you like one of the second tier to out head-to-head Cavendish.
Cees Bol, Danny van Poppel and André Greipel are all capable. If you like one, the prices are more than reasonable.
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.