Starting with a 13-kilometre time trial in Dusseldorf on 1 July, the 104th edition of the Tour de France – one of cycling’s three grand tours – will see 198 riders in 22 teams take to the mountains and valleys of Europe, determined to wear that yellow jersey.
Tour de France Betting
This is the biggest annual sporting event, attracting more live spectators than the Olympic Games or Fifa World Cup, so a lot is riding on who will win the 3 540-kilometre race.
Race director, Christian Prudhomme, has unveiled the 2017 race route which is aimed at creating an ‘unpredictable tour’ in an effort to break the current trend which has seen the sport dominated by Team Sky. The route has stages in all five of France’s stunning mountain ranges – including a 100-kilometre stage – nine potential sprint stages and a 23-kilometre time trial for the penultimate day in Marseille, ending on 23 July with the classic peloton ride through the famous Champs-Élysées.
Anyone looking to place bets on this year’s Tour de France should definitely check out these top contenders.
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky)
Despite the route changes aimed at shaking up Team Sky’s overwhelming hold on the race, three-time Tour de France champion, Chris Froome, is still the favourite to win. The 32-year-old British national made history just two years ago when he became the first British rider to win two editions of the Tour de France – in 2013 and 2015 – and the first to win the overall title and the King of the Mountains. He rode this wave of success into 2016 where he took his third Tour de France title. Those same three years, Froome won the Critérium du Dauphiné title, however, it was not to be this year where he placed fourth overall. Hopefully Froome can shake off this recent upset and get his mind right for the upcoming challenge.
Current betting odds of 14/10
2. Richie Porte (BMC Racing)
This 32-year-old Australian rider has somewhat of a grudge against Chris Froom and Alejandro Valverde after he lost the overall lead of the recent Critérium du Dauphiné in the final stage. He feels he was isolated on the penultimate climb stating afterwards: “It was me against everyone for a little bit. Valverde and Froome obviously didn’t want to see me win the race. That’s racing, but you don’t forget that for July.”
Having joined competitive cycling in 2006 after dropping triathlon, Porte has proved to be one of the professional peloton’s most gifted riders. He signed on with Team Saxo-Bank for the 2010 and 2011 season where he went on to win the Tour de Romandie TT. Although his performance seemed a bit lacklustre thereafter, Team Sky signed Porte in 2012 and his results improved, winning the Volta ao Algarve and then, in 2013, he won Paris-Nice. The following year was plagued by illness but Porte started 2015 strongly, winning a number of key Tour Down Under and Volta ao Algarve stages as well as the overall in Paris-Nice. Porte is now looking for solo victory, rather than supporting Froome, and has moved over to BMC Racing where he will be competing against his former teammate – and with something to prove, it will make for an interesting race.
Current betting odds of 18/10
3. Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
This young star developed his love for cycling by riding the mountainous journey to school every day, in his native Columbia, on a second-hand bike. At the age of 19, he signed his first professional contract, racing for the government-funded Boyacá Es Para Vivirla. He moved onto Movistar in 2012 and made a name for himself as a top competitor in the 2013 Tour de France placing second overall. Since then he has established himself as a Grand Tour specialist by winning the 2014 Giro d’Italia and 2016 Vuelta a España with another second place in the 2015 Tour de France. This 27-year-old is one of cycling’s foremost climbers and tipped for a podium position in the upcoming contest.
Current betting odds of 13/2
4. Alberto Contador (Trek Segafredo)
The 34-year-old Spaniard is in a class of his own having won all three Grand Tours – the Tour de France (2007, 2009), Giro d’Italia (2008, 2015) and Vuelta a España (2008, 2012 and 2014) – and ranking among the current world’s best three-week stage racers alongside Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana. This stage racer has also won some of the biggest week-long stage races including Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Basque Country. His career is not without controversy, however, with Contador stripped of his 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro d’Italia titles after he tested positive for clenbuterol. But, despite stating he would retire at the end of the 2016, Contador has decided to return for Trek Segafredo this year, hoping to take another shot at the Tour.
Current betting odds of 14/1
5. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
Another great stage racer and rider whose career has been marred by doping convictions, the 37-year-old Spaniard is nearing the end of his riding career and will be looking to go out in style. Despite his age, he is certainly one of the best week-long stage racers in the peloton. Following the revelation that he was among the many caught blood doping, all his 2010 results were wiped but Valverde has continued to show impressive cycling talent, securing a podium spot in the 2015 Tour de France edition and a top-10 finish at the 2015 Vuelta a España.
Current betting odds of 16/1
All betting odds correct at time of publishing and are subject to change.
For the latest betting odds on the Tour de France as well as other current sports and events, visit Keith Ho BetXchange.