With Andy Schleck ruled out of this year’s Tour De France through injury, last year’s race winner Cadel Evans’ chances of triumphing at 5/2 have been bolstered.
Schleck was amongst the favourites to wrestle Evans’ crown from him, prior to sustaining a pelvis fracture in last week’s Criterium du Dauphine outing.
A three-time runner up in cycling’s premier event, and recently named the 2010 champion amidst Albert Contador’s doping offences coming to light, Schleck’s omission from the race undoubtedly gives a shot in the arm to the hopes of challengers.
Evans nears the forefront of these competitors, and will take heart from a third-place finish in the Criterium du Dauphine in France last week.
What was perhaps most encouraging for Evans in this race was that he seemed to have plenty left in the tank by the conclusion, and that kind of stamina will aid him greatly as he attempts to defend his Tour De France crown next month.
The only opponent above Evans in the betting meanwhile, is Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins, who is a 5/4 shot to win a race which begins in his country of birth, Belgium.
Wiggins has a strong team with him, but inexperience in landing accolades in races as gruelling as the Tour De France could prove a stumbling block.
He has also outlined that he is not yet at 100 per cent going into the showpiece event, which is far from ideal ahead of such a testing exertion.
Meanwhile, Wiggins’ team-mate Michael Rodgers, who is 300/1 to triumph in the race, is not underestimating the challenge of Evans, and thinks he can cause problems for his team-mate Wiggins.
Rodgers told the Sydney Morning Herald, “Cadel has been getting better and better. I am sure he will do the same as last year and improve out of sight between here and the Tour.
“He is tough, real tough and will fight all the way. He has the background there and is defending champion and has a very strong team. He will be on par with Bradley as the favourite. I don’t see any one of them stronger.”
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.