Although the 2015 Tour de France is some months from getting underway, the latest edition of the biggest road cycling race in the world is set to be a tight one if the antepost betting is a reliable indicator.
Four men stand a far better chance of victory than their peers as far Ladbrokes are concerned, with the fourth favourite standing some 21 points clear in the market from the next-best fancied rider.
Of that quartet, there is nothing between the favourites, while the third in the list is available at a little better than 3/1. There are some very respected horses available at longer odds than that for the Cheltenham festival, which is just over a month away.
So what is the fuss about these four peddlers? Hopefully we are here to shed some light:
Team Sky’s leader had a disastrous defence of his 2013 title when withdrawing from the competition last year through injury, but is reportedly fit and firing for another crack at the yellow jersey this time around.
He returned from disappointment last season with a silver medal in the Vuelta a Espana, finishing runner up to Alberto Contador and his pedigree at the Tour (he was runner up the year before he won it) makes him a formidable player.
Quintana joins Froome at the top of the betting thanks largely to his impressive success at the Giro d’Italia last year.
The Colombian also has a runners-up spot at the Tour de France on his CV and, as a climbing specialist, will look upon the 2015 course’s heavy preference to that discipline favourably.
This year the 25-year-old will skip the Giro to focus all his efforts on claiming the yellow jersey.
If it was up to Froome, it would be the two-Tour winning Spaniard that joins him at the skinny end of the market rather than Quintana.
“He is an extremely tough rival for me. If anyone knows how to win the Tour de France, it’s him,” Froome said in an interview earlier this year.
Contador perhaps has the edge over his British rival thanks to his La Vuelta triumph, but will perhaps be hampered this year by trying to win two Grand Tours in the same year, which hasn’t been done since 1998.
Perhaps the strength of the competition counts against the defending Tour de France champion holding a better price at this stage.
Nibali claimed the 2014 yellow jersey after both Froome and Contador withdrew, which completed a career sweep of the Grand Tours for the Italian. He has, however, never managed to defend either of his previous titles.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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