While the battle between Chris Froome and Alberto Contador for the Yellow Jersey grabs all the headlines in the cycling world, there’s an equally intriguing subplot bubbling along in the points classification competition.
Here are the runners and riders:
The charismatic 24-year-old has ridden the Tour de France twice previously and claimed the points classification title on both occasions.
His ability to compete for points in the stages that flat-out sprinters cannot sets him apart in his pursuit of a third consecutive maillot vert.
Three points classification wins this season already make him the clear favourite, but be sure to keep an eye on his quirky in-race habits too, like bunny-hopping over a curb mid-race:
Last year’s runner up not only has Sagan as serious competition for the title he won in 2011 now, but his perceived “king of the sprints” tag under threat.
Normally known as the man to rely on for a sprint victory, Cavendish won less stages than rival Marcel Kittel during the Tour last year and has fallen ill ahead of the start of this year’s festivities.
The German 26-year-old’s four wins in the sprint stages last year bettered Cavendish’s effort of two, while Kittel also ended the Brit’s four-year winning streak on the final Champs-Elysees stage.
A lack of ability in the hillier section means Kittel can’t quite rival Sagan in the Green Jersey stakes, although the 8/11 on him winning over 2.5 stages looks cracking value.
Riding in the same Giant-Shimano team as Kittel gives the German a great chance of landing the points classification at long odds.
It’s possible the team will prioritise stages to each rider to give them a chance to taste victory, but Degenkolb’s form – he’s won the points jersey in two events this season – makes him an intriguing prospect in his own right.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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