Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez came through a brutal third stage of the 2015 Tour de France to land 6/1 second-favourite odds for lucky punters, reeling in general classification favourite Chris Froome just before the finish.
Fabian Cancellara, who wore the yellow jersey after solid rides during Stages 1 and 2, went over his handlebars and into a ditch during a crash that saw the race ‘neutralised’ by a de facto safety car with over 50km to go, although they got back underway shortly afterwards.
Froome grabbed the ‘maillot jaune’ going into tomorrow, a second ahead of Etixx-Quick Step’s Tony Martin, and shortened up considerably in the overall betting to 1/1 after leaving main rivals Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali to bite his dust.
However, Froome will be forgiven for feeling somewhat intrepid ahead of Tuesday’s trip from Seraing, Belgium to Cambrai, France, as the dreaded cobblestones make their reappearance on the road.
The 2013 champion didn’t make it through the cobbled Stage 5 last year, after crashing a couple of times over the first few days of Le Tour, while Nibali opened up a lead over Contador that the two-time former winner never managed to close, eventually giving up five days later.
After finishing third over the cobbles 12 months ago, the bookies don’t hold out much hope on the defending champion going a couple better this time round, pricing up Nibali at 50/1 for a Stage 4 triumph.
Last year’s ‘king of the cobbles’ Lars Boom, who has been implicated in a doping controversy this month, looks very interesting at 25/1.
This stage is somewhat longer at 223.5km, compared to the 155.5km Stage 5 last year, but Boom did enough when coming fourth overall in April’s Paris-Roubaix to suggest he’s something of a master over this terrain.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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