By Mark Rawlinson
Chris Froome remains favourite to win this year’s Tour de France and is now almost three and a half minutes ahead of closest rival Alejando Valverde.
The Kenyan-born Team rider secured the race lead from Daryl Impey back on Saturday after winning the first of the two Pyrenees stages.
Wednesday’s individual time trial which finished at the picturesque Mont Saint-Michel, saw Froome stretch his lead of the race from around a minute to three minutes 25 seconds after finishing the time trial in second.
He finished 12 seconds behind reigning world time trial champion Tony Martin who obliterated the 33km course in just 41 minutes 53 seconds.
Stage 12 Preview
Thursday’s stage between Fougères and Tours is a flat one which should see Froome maintain his three and a half minute lead.
Barring a breakaway group reaching the finish uncaught, expect there to be a sprint finish on the run-in of stage 12.
Omega-Pharma-Quickstep sprinter Mark Cavendish has endured a difficult past couple of days, firstly being involved in a collision with Tom Veelers on the finishing straight on Tuesday.
He then confiscated a reporter’s recording device in the post-race interviews at the end of stage 11 and then yesterday, had a pot of urine thrown at him during the time trial.
However, tomorrow’s stage will suit him and he’ll fancy his chances of turning his dire week around by securing the stage win. He’s currently favourite with the bookies to do that with Paddy Power providing the best odds of 11/8.
His sprinting rivals are other likely contenders for the stage victory on Thursday afternoon. Lotto Belisol’s Andre Gripel won stage six last week and Sportingbet are offering odds of 3/1 on him winning the stage.
Bet 365 provide the best odds of 4/1 on Argos Shimano’s Marcel Kittel winning the stage whilst Peter Sagan of Cannondale is priced at 12/1 with Bet Victor.
Green Jersey Outright
Sagan remains in control of the green jersey on 269 points and is 1/20 on with Ladbrokes to win the competition for a second year in a row.
The other contenders are slipping away and this is reflected in the betting stakes with nearest rival Gripel available at 14/1 with Paddy Power. Cavendish, who is currently third in the points classification, is priced at 25/1 William Hill.
White Jersey Outright
The young riders’ classification, open to all riders under the age of 25, is looking like a two-horse race at the moment with Michal Kwiatkowski currently leading the competition. The Pole is 34 seconds ahead of Nairo Quintana is just 34 second behind.
However Movistar’s Quintana is regarded as a more accomplished rider and he is top of the bookies tables at 2/7 with Coral. Omega-Pharma-Quickstep’s Kwiatowski is currently priced at 9/2 with Paddy Power.
You can claim free bets with Coral by clicking HERE.