By Mark Rawlinson
Stage eight of the Tour de France will separate the men from the boys as the race enters its first serious mountain stage into the Pyrenees.
It will be one week since the Grand Depart and following a few days racing in Corsica, the Tour has made its way along the South of France and will hit the inclines on Saturday.
Stage 8 Outright
Daryl Impey is currently in possession of the yellow jersey after inheriting the race lead from Orica Greenedge teammate Simon Gerrans at the end of stage 6.
Impey’s group finished five seconds ahead of the group Gerrans was in and thus became the first ever South African to wear the Tour de France yellow jersey.
So far, no breakaways have won a stage by a significant margin in the Tour and so the field is very closely spread but with Saturday’s stage finishing at the ski resort of Ax 3 Domaines, expect the standings to look very different by tomorrow evening.
Impey’s race role is a sprinter so it is very likely that he will lose the lead of the General Classification and Tour favourite Chris Froome is the bookies favourite to take take tomorrow’s stage as he looks to take the race lead.
He starts the day just eight seconds behind the leader and Coral are offering odds of 5/2 in winning stage eight.
The next most dangerous man in the field would be Team Saxo-Bank Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador. The Spaniard is 14 seconds behind Impey and Bet 365 are offering odds of 17/2 on him securing the stage.
Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez begins the day 33 seconds behind the lead and Bet 365 are providing odds of 13/2 on him winning the stage.
Yellow Jersey Outright
Froome remains favourite to win the Tour outright and Bet Victor are providing the best odds of 3/4 on him taking the race.
Contador is one of the major contenders for tomorrow’s stage and a number of outlets including William Hill are providing odds of 5/2 on him winning the Tour.
Rodriguez is another big player in the overall competition and Bet 365 are offering odds of 17/1 whilst BMC Racing’s Cadel Evans is being offered by Bet Victor at 22/1 for the overall race win.
Defending sprinters champion Peter Sagan took the green jersey from Marcel Kittel after stage three and has already shown his prowess and leads the classification by a long way.
The Cannondale rider has already amassed 224 points in the classification and barring any extreme circumstances, seems already nailed-on to win the green jersey and Coral are providing the best odds of 1/10 on doing that.
Mark Cavendish revealed he was suffering from a virus at the end of last week and he has a huge mountain to climb to take the jersey. A number of outlets including Paddy Power are offering 10/1.
Andre Gripel is the only other sprinter who will have any chance of challenging either Sagan or Cavendish for the green jersey and Bet Victor amongst others now price him at 16/1.
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