In another absorbing day of the Tour de France Vincenzo Nibali took full control of the race with his second stage win and is now the 2/9 favourite for glory with Ladbrokes.
This was after two-time champion Alberto Contador joined pre-race favourite Chris Froome on the sidelines after a crash left him with a fractured tibia.
The Spaniard showed plenty of courage and heart as rode on for 20km after his crash but he finally succumbed to his injury before climbing into a Team Tinkoff-Saxo support car and out of the race.
This left Nibali to power away from his nearest rival Richie Porte to take the stage win, leaving him 2min 23sec ahead of the Team Sky rider in the General Classification.
While there is a long way to go in this race and though the crashes that have taken out Froome and Contador show anything is possible in bike racing, the yellow jersey is Nibali’s to lose.
The 2013 Giro d’Italia winner is a superb bike handler and it would be a surprise to everyone to see yet another crash rob a favourite of the chance to claim the maillot jaune in Paris.
But with plenty of racing left in this year’s race Porte won’t be giving up hope quite yet.
The Australian is the only other rider priced in single figures and is 6/1 with Ladbrokes to claw back the 2min 23sec gap and win Le Tour.
With much longer climbs in the Alps and the Pyrenees to come, Porte will look to test Nibali on terrain which will suit the Team Sky rider much more than the short, sharp ascents seen on Stage 2 and Stage 10.
Alejandro Valverde, who is a further 24 seconds behind Porte, is third in the betting at 18/1 but is not attracting much support. With this in mind Teejay van Garderen could be the surprise package as the race heads into the mountains.
The American, who is 33/1 with the bookmaker for victory, is an excellent climber and with his two main climbing rivals out of the picture, the he has an excellent chance of clawing back some time on Nibali and reaching the podium in Paris.
The race has so far been unkind to the 25-year-old but with one of the best teams around in BMC, Van Garderen has the support to mount a real challenge in the mountains and while the 9/4 on him reaching the podium appeals, backing him each-way at 33/1 could prove to be a masterstroke.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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