After months of uncertainty, the 107th Tour de France begins on Saturday and with a route designed for climbers, it is sure to produce fireworks.
Jumbo-Visma’s improvement means Team Ineos are set to come under fresh pressure, while it could be a familiar story elsewhere.
Bernal Still the Man to Beat
Last month we predicted that defending champion Egan Bernal was the man to watch and despite mixed results in the build-up, the Colombian has to be considered.
Ineos-Grenadiers’ decision to drop Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas means Bernal will not have any intra-team drama to worry about, with reigning Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz set to be given a free role.
As ever, one of the anomalies of cycling is that the most important rider in the race may not be the eventual winner. Carapaz’s victory over Primoz Roglic at the Giro could give his team a psychological advantage, while his strength in the mountains means he can ride to the end.
Bernal and Roglic share favouritism at
2/1 and the Slovenian is the form rider. However, fears are growing over the severity of his recent crash at the Criterium du Dauphine and he will need help from Jumbo-Visma colleagues Wout van Aert and Tom Dumoulin, the latter himself sitting third in the betting at
Home hopes rest on FDJ-Groupama’s Thibaut Pinot, who deserves some luck after injury forced him out last year after dominating in the Pyrenees. At 6/1, he looks a contender with the route reflecting his strengths, but questions remain over his ability to put three weeks of racing together.
Super Sagan Set for Green
With a record seven Green Jerseys, Peter Sagan has been the king of the Points Classification in recent years but his mixed form over the last 12 months have led to questions regarding his future.
Now 30, the Slovakian has admitted to looking beyond cycling but his method of amassing points in breakaways and picking up the odd one here and there in sprints is well suited to the 2020 route.
The Bora-Hansgrohe rider is shorter than in previous years but is still a heavy favourite at
5/6. With only a handful of sprints likely, Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan and Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Sam Bennett are unlikely to do enough in breakaways to contend, while Jumbo’s Wout van Aert may have other things to think about.
All to Play for in the Mountains
The King of the Mountains is always the most open competition, with attacking riders making a point to compete in the hope that a general classification hopeful doesn’t realign his goals towards this award.
That happened last year with AG2R’s Romain Bardet taking the prize after a slow start and he has switched his focus from the Giro d’Italia back to the Tour.
With this a climber’s route, Bardet has vowed to hunt stages, which means he’ll be gunning for mountain points and is
9/1 to wear the polka dot jersey into Paris.
Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates is in a similar boat and could be a value punt at
Another rider who appears to have left behind his overall aspirations, Yates can attack with verve and descend with best and may have half an eye on this prize.
*All odds correct at time of writing