For the first time in nearly 50 years, the opening stage of the Tour de France provides an opportunity for a sprinter to claim the yellow jersey; a prospect which will no doubt have Mark Cavendish chomping at the bit.
The Manxman has worn the general classification jersey at both the Vuelta a España and the Giro d’Italia and this year provides an unprecedented opportunity for Cavendish to don the maillot jaune in Sunday’s second stage.
Unlike other years where the opening stage has included a preliminary time trial or hilltop finish, the flat in Corsica will give sprinters the opportunity to take the race lead and it is 4/5 that Cavendish lands his 24th career stage win.
Cavendish represented Team Sky last year but left the team after missing out on the green jersey, feeling their goals was too focused on the general classification. He rides for Omega-Pharma this term and, as a team who are focused on primarily on stage wins, victory in Corsica will be a massive priority for them.
While Cavendish has said himself that it often takes a few days for him to get into his rhythm on a Grand Tour, it bodes well that he won the opener of the Giro this year.
However, with an abundance of world-class sprinters on the tour, victory is no formality for the Brit.
Andre Greipel, 7/2, is in good form after claiming his first national road race title in Germany recently. The Lotto Belisol man had his most successful Tour ever last year finishing second in the points classification, winning three stages. His train of Adam Hanson and Greg Henderson will also provide impeccable support.
Argos Shimano’s Marcel Kittel, 6/1, could also be one to look out for after winning the first stage of the Tour of Oman this year in an electrifying sprint finish. He also beat both Cavendish and Griepel in stage three of the Ster ZLM Toer so is a definite danger.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.