2018 Tour De France Favourites and Dark Horses
The 105th edition of the Tour De France, cycling's most prestigious Grand Tour begins this Saturday. This year's course will depart from Noirmoutier-en-Ille in the Vendee section and end in the Champs-Elysees stage in Paris on July 29. The course is 3,329 kilometres (2,069 miles) divided by 21 stages and features 176 riders from 22 teams.
We look at four riders, two favourites and two sleepers, who are serious contenders to potentially win the whole thing complete with betting odds via SportsInteraction.
The four-time winner was recently just cleared of all doping charges following his successful defence with his salbutamol, a performance-enhancer. Froome is also fresh from winning this spring's Giro D'Italia and last year's Vuelta a Espana.
Originally a climbing specialist, Froome has two mountains classifications from both the Tour and Giro but has since developed bike handling on descents and pave. The Kenyan-born Brit leads the four horsemen of Team Sky with Geraint Thomas, Egan Bernal, and Michal Kwiatkowski backing him up and potentially finishing in the top ten or even better.
Froome will have a chip on his shoulder and is ready to prove the detractors wrong. He'll encounter a few tough spots during the course but his strength at the incline and well-balanced skillset still gives him the best odds of finishing on top.
Only three other cyclists have won the Tour De France more than four times. At plus-money, Froome is a solid bet to be the fourth and the first British man to achieve the feat.
Will this finally be the Aussie's year? Porte leads BMC Racing and is second only to Froome as far as favourites for winning this year's tour. However, Porte hasn't won a Grand Tour nor has he even finished on the podium in 11 starts in the big three.
Porte has momentum heading to the race having won the Tour de Suisse and has the support of BMC's wily veterans Joey Rosskopf and Rohan Dennis among others. He'll come with extra motivation looking to redeem last year's disastrous results, where he crashed out of the race.
The 33-year-old's best result is a fifth-place finish in 2016 where he trailed Froome by five minutes and 17 seconds. Porte will dispel any notions that he has "bad luck" and surprise everyone with a podium finish or even a victory. But at these odds, it's best to look elsewhere.
The home favourite is a longshot to win the tournament but has to be the sexiest dark horse of the lot. The 27-year-old still has plenty of room to grow and needs to improve on his time trialling if he stands any chance to dethrone Froome or return to the podium.
Bardet is backed by AG2R La Mondiale who will give him every opportunity to succeed. The Frenchman consistently improved in his five tours finishing 15th, sixth, ninth, second, and third. He won three individual stages in the last three races as well as the 2015 combativity award.
He may not win the race but Bardet will arguably be the most exciting to watch. His speed combined with his aggressive style will make him a contender throughout even if he gets into trouble and will need to push his way out. At 15-1, Bardet backers can take a pinch and hope he finally delivers.
The Irishman is the tournament's lovable underdog. Since his breakout year in 2011 where he won his first grand tour stage in Spain, Martin has scratched and clawed his way through several tours but has yet to finish on the podium in the big three.
Martin finished each of the five tours with a sixth-place finish last year, despite a crash, as his best result. He has an individual stage in 2013's edition and also won another in 2011 in Spain along with several second-place finishes.
The UAE-Emirates rider joined the team this year after turning down an offer from Team Sky because he'd rather take the chance to lead than be a supporting cast to Froome. Martin is unlikely to win but he could finally get a podium finish.
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Category : Soccer News
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