Starting with a 13-kilometre time trial in Dusseldorf on 1 July, the 104th edition of the Tour de France – one of cycling’s three grand tours – will see 198 riders in 22 teams take to the mountains and valleys of Europe, determined to wear that yellow jersey.
This is the biggest annual sporting event, attracting more live spectators than the Olympic Games or Fifa World Cup, so a lot is riding on who will win the 3 540-kilometre race.
Race director, Christian Prudhomme, has unveiled the 2017 race route which is aimed at creating an ‘unpredictable tour’ in an effort to break the current trend which has seen the sport dominated by Team Sky. The route has stages in all five of France’s stunning mountain ranges – including a 100-kilometre stage – nine potential sprint stages and a 23-kilometre time trial for the penultimate day in Marseille, ending on 23 July with the classic peloton ride through the famous Champs-Élysées.
Anyone looking to place bets on this year’s Tour de France should definitely check out these top contenders.
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky)
Despite the route changes aimed at shaking up Team Sky’s overwhelming hold on the race, three-time Tour de France champion, Chris Froome, is still the favourite to win. The 32-year-old British national made history just two years ago when he became the first British rider to win two editions of the Tour de France – in 2013 and 2015 – and the first to win the overall title and the King of the Mountains. He rode this wave of success into 2016 where he took his third Tour de France title. Those same three years, Froome won the Critérium du Dauphiné title, however, it was not to be this year where he placed fourth overall. Hopefully Froome can shake off this recent upset and get his mind right for the upcoming challenge.
Current betting odds of 2/7
2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
This young star developed his love for cycling by riding the mountainous journey to school every day, in his native Columbia, on a second-hand bike. At the age of 19, he signed his first professional contract, racing for the government-funded Boyacá Es Para Vivirla. He moved onto Movistar in 2012 and made a name for himself as a top competitor in the 2013 Tour de France placing second overall. Since then he has established himself as a Grand Tour specialist by winning the 2014 Giro d’Italia and 2016 Vuelta a España with another second place in the 2015 Tour de France. This 27-year-old is one of cycling’s foremost climbers and tipped for a podium position in the upcoming contest.
Current betting odds of 45/1
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
Another great stage racer and rider whose career has been marred by doping convictions, the 37-year-old Spaniard is nearing the end of his riding career and will be looking to go out in style. Despite his age, he is certainly one of the best week-long stage racers in the peloton. Following the revelation that he was among the many caught blood doping, all his 2010 results were wiped but Valverde has continued to show impressive cycling talent, securing a podium spot in the 2015 Tour de France edition and a top-10 finish at the 2015 Vuelta a España.
Current betting odds of 16/1
All betting odds correct at time of publishing and are subject to change.
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