- Nairo Quintana has either won or podiumed in every race he has entered so far this year, with his most recent victory taking place at the Route du Sud. He’s improved massively in time trialling, which, combined with his superior climbing abilities, makes him the biggest threat to Froome's bid for the General Classification at the moment.
- Chris Froome won the Dauphine this month over Alberto Contador, but he’s taken a slow-burn approach to the rest of the season. He is an excellent time trialist and could definitely put in enough seconds to give him a safe winning margin, but he should be worried about Mont Ventoux, as no rider has ever won that stage twice.
- A dark horse to look out for might be Richie Porte (BMC), who moved to a new team last year and nearly podiumed at the Dauphine if it weren’t for an erratic finishing move from former Sky teammate Froome. Expect Porte to be hungry to prove himself in this year’s Tour and clinch a podium spot.
- Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) will be keen to grab a third GC title for himself towards the tail end of his professional career. His previous third win in 2010 was stripped after a positive test for clenbluterol (which he attributes to a dodgy bit of steak), and he’ll be keen to ensure that a legitimate yellow jersey sits in his house by the end of the year.
The outright market for the GC don’t offer terribly good odds at the moment; the best you can get on Chris Froome pulling a hat trick is 6/4, while Nairo Quintana is 2/1. Contador is only slightly better at 13/2.
A good market to have a bet on is the winning margin; odds of 13/8 that the time difference between the GC winner and the second-place finisher will be 59 seconds or less, followed by 6/4 for a margin from one minute to two minutes and 59 seconds and odds of 9/4 that the winning margin will be three minutes or greater. Last year’s Tour saw Quintana finish one minute and 12 seconds behind Froome, and the Colombian is sure to be looking for a top spot on the podium. If all goes well and the two riders are neck-and-neck by the time the peloton arrives in Chantilly on Stage 21, you can throw convention out the window and expect a thrilling dash to the Champs-Elysees.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Richie Porte for Podium Finish - 5/1
*Please note that odds may change over the course of the race.