With many analysts expecting Team Sky’s Chris Froome to follow in the footsteps of former colleague Sir Bradley Wiggins, it might appear that there are few enticing alternatives in the betting for this year’s Tour de France.
There are, however, plenty of other talented riders vying for the yellow jersey and Froome’s coronation as a Grand Tour champion is by no means guaranteed.
It seems then that the real value perhaps lies in running the rule over potential podium candidates, with Ladbrokes offering a host of tempting prices for some of the other contenders likely to feature at the top end of the general classification table.
Odds of 3/1 for the veteran Spaniard to appear on the podium in Paris make him one of the shorter options available. However, the mountainous course is likely to suit the powerful climber who finished 7th overall in 2010.
Winning the Giro di Lombardia last year after the notoriously steep Muro di Sormano climb was re-introduced further emphasises his tenacity, while a second-place finish in the Giro D’Italia (2012) and third-placed achievements in the Vuelta a Espana twice (2010 and 2012) are other features of an impressive CV.
Chris Froome’s support rider Richie Porte has already had assurances from his more fancied teammate that he’ll do all he can to help the Australian join him at the top of the general classification table. And this year’s Paris-Nice winner is an attractive 7/2 to feature in the top-three, with his form in the Critérium du Dauphiné – where he finished second to Froome overall – another highlight that’s caught the eye.
Last year, Frenchman Thibaut Pinot was the youngest rider to finish in the top 10 of the general classificiation since 1947. And he could benefit from a fairly light calendar thus far in 2013, especially if repeating the form of the previous Tour where he successfully negotiated the Category 1 Col de la Croix to take Stage Eight. The tasty 12/1 for his inclusion in the top-three has plenty of appeal.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date