Team Sky look to get on Tour de France board with outsider

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Italian Vincenzo Nibali passed the first high-mountain test of this year’s Tour de France with flying colours in stage 13, winning the race to cling on to the yellow jersey for another day.

For stage 14 another long, arduous climb awaits them as the riders travel the 177km from Grenoble to Risoul.

Nibali is the favourite with Ladbrokes to take the stage win, which would be his fourth of the Tour so far, and at odds at 4/1 has to be looked at as part of any betting strategy for the day.

From the very outset of the day the peloton is asked to climb, embarking on a 34km ride skyward from almost the start point of the stage past Eybens.

Having just endured a stamina draining stage the previous day, it’s easy to see why the favourite’s price is so long and with another testing section of the Tour immediately following, it could pay to take a punt on an even longer priced option.

At 11/2, Joaquim Rodriguez is the second favourite to win stage 14. He ended the previous day’s action taking the ascent at his own pace, having failed to go with the break. A mountain specialist with what should be more energy than most; Rodriguez represents the best bet for stage 14 victory.

The trials and tribulations of Team Sky could play into the hands of 12/1 longshot Mikel Nieve, who started the Tour de France as domestique to Chris Froome, moved to Richie Porte’s lieutentant when the Kenyan-born Brit withdrew and now could be used to land the team their first stage win of 2014.

With Sky’s goals shifting, using an attacking cyclist like Nieve to get them on the board could be a useful tactic in stage 14, especially as 30-year-old Spaniard has shown encouraging form so far in the Tour.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

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