The Race for Yellow is Wide Open

We’re over half-way through the Tour de France, and it isn’t even close to decided yet.

There are six stages left of the 2017 Tour de France, and the yellow jersey is still anyone’s guess. It’s the closest Tour de France I can remember, and we might get a winner by the smallest margin ever. That’s 8 seconds, by the way.

2015-06-28_spo_10725580_I1This is the general classification after 15 stages:
1. Chris Froome +00:00 | Odds: 1.40
2. Fabio Aru +00:18 | Odds: 12.00
3. Romain Bardet +00:23 | Odds: 7.50
4. Rigoberto Uran +00:29 | Odds: 15.00
5. Dan Martin +01:12 | Odds: 41.00
6. Mikel Landa +01:17 | Odds: 34.00
7. Simon Yates +02:02 | Odds: 201.00
8. Louis Meintjes +05:09 | Odds: 501.00
9. Alberto Contador +05:37 | Odds: 251.00
10. Damiano Caruso +06:05 | Odds: 601.00
11. Nairo Quintana +06:16 | Odds: 201.00

As you can see from the odds, the bookies doesn’t think it’s that close. I understand why, because the last time trial really favors Chris Froome. He also fought back bravely after having mechanical issues on stage 15, which means he’s in great shape. Taking seconds on a Chris Froome in great shape is hard, and when you need to have a 40-50 second lead before the last time trial… that makes it very hard. However, i think it actually is possible.

Chris Froome

Let’s just start by saying I did bet on Froome to win the Tour de France before the tour. However, he hasn’t been as superior as I thought. He lost time on an uphill sprint, he almost lost a lot of time on Sunday, and his competition keeps attacking him. Dan Martin get seconds every stage, and if the others follows the Irish’ example, I’m not sure Froome will have that jersey before the 20th stage. But that stage, it’s his. It’s as simple as that. Chris Froome will win time on the time trial, and anyone who hopes to beat him must get a huge lead up the final climb on stage 18.

Romain Bardet

The Frenchman is the closest to beating Froome, in my eyes. His problem is (as everybody else) that he sucks at time trials. We saw AG2R try to distance Froome on Sunday, and they will keep trying. Bardet is a very good downhill rider, which makes stage 17 a perfect stage for him to attack. Look for the Frenchman to give it his everything both up and down Col du Galibier.

Rigoberto Uran

The Colombian is the only one that could challenge Froome on the TT. He’s not as good, but he is pretty good. I mean, he will lose time to the Brit on that stage too, but he could survive with a smaller gap. That means Uran will most likely try to attack up to Izoard on stage 18, and hope that it will be enough.

Fabio Aru

I’m sitting with the feeling he’ll get dropped any day now. He cracked like a balloon in the last week in 2016, and he has showed signs that he’s tired. If AG2R puts the hammer down on stage 17, I fear Aru will struggle to follow on the last climb.

Dan Martin

Even though he has done a great job of getting seconds this week, I think he will suffer the same faith as Aru. He’s not made for those long, hard climbs, and both stage 17 and 18 are brutal.

Mikel Landa

Mark my words: Landa could’ve won this Tour de France if he wanted to (read: rode for another team). He looks extremely strong, and Froome wouldn’t be in the lead without him. He waited for his captain on Sunday’s stage, and burned a lot of power to bring him back. And he still managed to hang on. He easily followed Bardet on the climb Froome got dropped last week. I almost hope for Froome to crack, so that we can see Landa attack, and win the Tour for himself. That would be a way to end the most exciting Tour de France in a while.

Prediction: Romain Bardet, AG2R

57402_bardet_067Yep, I’m gonna say it. I think Romain Bardet will give France their first Tour victory since Bernard Hinault (1985). He has yet to show any weaknesses, while Froome has struggled several times. He can attack on the climb, and he can attack on the descent. He has a pretty good team around him, and the crowd will carry him towards the yellow. He might need over a minute before the time trial… but it is more than possible.

Odds: 7.50 at Bet365.

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