It’s not long now until the world’s most famous bike race gets underway in Leeds and here at Ladbrokes News we are talking all things British ahead of this year’s Tour de France.
With four British riders lining up for the Le Grande Depart in Yorkshire we preview what you can expect from Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates over the course of a gruelling three weeks in the saddle.
The Kenyan-born cyclist has already won his first battle by seeing off 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins in the race to lead Team Sky at Le Tour.
But after seeing off Wiggo he faces many more battles over the course of the world’s most gruelling cycling race with Alberto Contandor ready to challenge for the famous yellow jersey.
Froome is the 10/11 favourite with Ladbrokes to finish on top of the podium in Paris once again but the likes of Contador (6/4) and Vincenzo Nibali (8/1) will be desperate to dethrone the Team Sky man.
But with one of the best teams on the circuit around him Froome will be a tough nut to crack and don’t be surprised to see the 29-year-old win a stage or two on the way to picking up another yellow jersey.
The Manx Missile is a man on a mission!
It’s no secret Mark Cavendish’s main target of the year is to win Stage 1 and wear the coveted yellow jersey for the first time in his career.
Having worn the race leader’s jerseys in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, a maillot jaune would complete the set for Cavendish and he is 2/1 with the bookie to win the opening stage in Harrogate.
That’s his first goal and on top of a few more stage wins, the 29-year-old, who has 25 Tour de France stage wins, could mount a challenge for the green jersey he won in 2011.
Peter Sagan is the overwhelming favourite at 8/15 to win the points classification but if Cavendish (9/2) crosses the line first in Harrogate, it could give him the confidence to go on and win green in Paris.
The 28-year-old may have failed in his bid to win the British Cycling National Championship road race last weekend due to mechanical problems but the Team Sky rider is still optimistic of enjoying a good Tour de France campaign.
Riding in support of Chris Froome, Thomas’ first aim will be to help the 2013 Tour de France winner defend his crown but you can expect to see him challenge for a stage win at some point during the three week race.
His opportunity could come on Stage 5 of this year’s tour and he has not ruled going for the win on the cobblestones in Arenberg Porte du Hainaut.
“Similar to the cobblestone stage in 2010, if the opportunity was there to go for a little result in the last 10km of stage five then I have to try and take it,” said Thomas.
“But I’m not going into the stage thinking that – it’s all about Froomey and trying to finish in Paris with him in yellow.”
The 21-year-old has boosted British ranks at this year’s Tour after being handed a surprise call up to the nine-man Orica-Greenedge squad.
Yates, who became a track world champion after winning the 2013 points race, will be competing in his first Tour de France and has been picked to aid his team’s targets in the race.
Orica-Greenedge’s sports director, Matt White, said: “Simon has certainly achieved a lot more than we would have imagined up to this point. It wasn’t the plan to bring him into the roster for the Tour de France, but for what we want to achieve as a team, he’s a great fit.
“It is no secret that we are targeting the intermediate mountain stages, and Simon has shown in his results throughout the year that he is more than capable of great results.”
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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