You won’t find many 9/2 favourites around outside horse racing handicaps and football first-scorer markets, so Nairo Quintana’s meaty market-leading odds to be crowned King of the Mountains in next month’s Tour de France points to an extremely tight race.
Last year’s polka-dot jersey winner Rafal Majka is all the way back at a top price of 40/1 with Ladbrokes to defend his title, which was attained when Quintana sidestepped Le Tour for a proper crack at the Giro d’Italia, which he won, and after joint jollies Chris Froome and Alberto Contador had crashed out.
That pair are co-third-favourites at 10/1 apiece to be top climber, but considering neither have managed as much in 11 combined cracks at the world’s number one bike ride, they’re easily swerved.
Despite not managing to produce a Tour de France general classification winner since Bernard Hinault’s fifth and final victory 30 years ago, the home team tend to do much better on the peaks.
French riders have been crowned King of the Mountains a whopping 11 times in the past 21 renewals of Le Tour, with Richard Virenque accounting for seven of those triumphs including four on the bounce between 1994 and 1997.
Thomas Voeckler (40/1) was the last man to keep the polka-dot jersey on French shores in 2012, but the 36-year-old ‘s Europcar teammate and countryman Pierre Rolland leads the home contingent, in the betting at least, as 8/1 second favourite.
However, last year’s general classification podium finisher Thibaut Pinot looks interesting at 20/1 after a fine 2015 thus far, including winning the ‘queen’ stage (which always includes the highest point in a bike race) in the recent Tour de Suisse.
In conclusion, Quintana is a worthy favourite having been crowned king in his only previous Le Tour appearance, while defending champion Majka is a ridiculous price to retain the title despite the increased competition, with Pinot the value pick for the home fans.
Best Bet: Nairo Quintana @ 9/2
Lively Longshot: Rafal Majka @ 40/1
Top Tricolor: Thibaut Pinot: 20/1
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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