On Saturday, July 6th, the 106th edition of the Tour de France gets underway as professional cycling’s top athletes engage in a three-week battle of attrition, tactics, and luck. This year’s Tour de France (TDF) will begin in Brussels to honor Eddy Merckx, the consensus pick for greatest cyclist of all-time, by celebrating the 50th anniversary of his first TDF win. After a few days in Belgium, the tour will then move back into its home country of France for the remainder of cycling’s Super Bowl.
The 2019 installment of this Grand Tour has already seen a great deal of drama before the race even starts as last year’s second through fourth place finishers are all going to miss this year’s event. Most notably, four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome suffered a horrific accident in the Criterium du Dauphine and is out of this year’s race. Additionally, the 2016 and 2018 TDF runner-up Tom Dumoulin will also be absent from this race due to a knee injury. Lastly, Primoz Roglic was left off the Jumbo-Visma squad after a disappointing Giro d’Italia performance in May. Roglic finished fourth in the Tour de France last year.
The absence of these three powerhouses has opened the doors for new faces to shine and possibly some veterans to finally capture their first ever Tour de France win.
Depending on which Tour de France betting site you look at, the odds-on favorite to win the race is either the 2018 TDF winner Geraint Thomas or his teammate Egan Bernal. In addition to picking an outright winner, cycling betting sites like Betway also offer odds on a cyclist’s chance of finishing on the podium along with all of the major race classifications (jerseys).
Without any further delay, let’s navigate our way through the peloton of cycling betting options and see if we can make the best predictions to capture the yellow jersey of Tour de France betting.
The 2019 edition of the Tour de France will be an exciting three-week race. With so many “twists and turns” packed into this Grand Tour, the following are a few storylines to watch out for:
Last, but not least, this year’s Tour de France will mark the first time since the 1980’s that Paul Sherwen will not be a part of the event. The beloved former cyclist and longtime journalist passed away last December. Sherwen’s absence has been felt all year long, but his personality and charm will be deeply missed in the 2019 Tour de France.
The Young Rider Classification, commonly referred to as the white jersey competition, is for riders 25 years old and under. This competition was first installed into the Tour de France in 1975. Since then, only four riders have won both the white jersey and the yellow jersey (general classification) in the same year. That could change this year because Egan Bernal is a threat to win both classifications.
Last year’s competition was a two-man battle between Pierre Latour and Egan Bernal for the white jersey. I was correct in picking Bernal to win, and I believe this year, I will be correct again. Unless he crashes out, Egan Bernal of Team Ineos is going to run away with this competition.
Bernal finished 5’39” behind Latour last year, but that was largely due to Team Sky needing Bernal to help both Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas in the mountains. Bernal was a beast in the high altitude during the 2018 TDF, and I expect him to be even better this year. The difference is that Team Ineos will actually allow Bernal to go for the yellow jersey if he is in better form than Thomas. Without going further into the general classification (GC) battle, Bernal is going to crush the field for the white jersey.
If Bernal were to somehow falter, crash, or get knocked out of the race, then the only other credible option is Enric Mas Nicolau. The 24-year-old Spaniard finished second in the Vuelta a Espana last year, which is the third of three Grand Tours in cycling. Enric has the potential to challenge for a Top 15 finish in the Tour de France as he’s on the hottest team in cycling this season, Deceuninck-Quick Step. He will have a strong supporting cast with Alaphilippe in the mountains and Viviani on the flat stages.
With that said, I’m all-in on Egan Bernal to win this jersey.
The mountains classification is the second oldest competition in the Tour de France. The inaugural competition began in 1933, but it wasn’t until 1975 that race organizers started having the leader of this classification wear the polka dot jersey. Additionally, the winner of this competition is commonly referred to as the “King of the Mountains.”
France’s Richard Virenque holds the record for the most wins of this jersey with seven. Last year’s winner Julian Alaphilippe is looking to win this competition for the second time of his career and become 13th multi-time winner. His victory also extended France’s lead in all-time polka dot jersey wins with 22.
As mentioned, Alaphilippe won the mountains classification last year and the title “King of the Mountains.” Additionally, he was one of the most exciting riders of the entire Grand Tour in 2018. Alaphilippe was a daredevil on the descents and constantly attacked up the mountains. He was also often seen in many of the breakaways. Alaphilippe won two stages in the 2018 Tour de France and he’s been on fire in 2019 so far.
Alaphilippe already has three wins on the season as he was victorious at Strade Bianche, Milano-Sanremo and La Fleche Wallone. He’s also won seven stages prior to the summer. In his Tour de France warmup, Julian finished first in the mountains classification for the Criterium du Dauphine.
Alaphilippe looks to be at top form and is the man to beat for this jersey.
This will be Barguil’s fifth Tour de France appearance. His best GC finish was 10th in 2017, which was the year that he won the mountains classification. Barguil ended up finishing second to Alaphilippe last year and will return to the Tour de France with the goal of capturing at least the polka dot jersey.
Barguil does have one TDF stage win as well. For a former polka dot jersey winner to be listed at +1000 odds, I really like this value. Warren has the experience and the ability to compete for this classification. Can he upstage his fellow countrymen by time the Tour reaches Paris?
At +3850 odds, Quintana is my longshot pick to win the “King of the Mountains” competition. For starters, Quintana is a threat to win the overall competition due to the absence of key rivals. But if he falters to win the GC title like he did the last two years, then I believe Quintana could contend for the polka dot jersey like he did in 2013 and 2015.
In 2013, Quintana was entering his first Tour de France race and he put on an incredible performance. If it weren’t for Chris Froome, Quintana would’ve won three jerseys. Instead, he came away with the polka dot jersey and the white jersey. Nevertheless, it was an impressive performance that announced Quintana as a major player on the Grand Tour scene.
In 2015, Quintana once again returned to the Tour after skipping it in 2014. Like two years prior, Nairo finished runner-up to Chris Froome. Additionally, he finished behind Froome in the “King of the Mountains” competition as well. However, Quintana did win the white jersey for a second time.
Now entering his sixth Tour de France, Quintana has to like his chances of winning the yellow jersey as three main rivals are absent from this year’s race. With that said, Quintana is going to have to win the TDF by crushing his opponents in the mountains. If he accomplishes this, then there’s also a chance that he could win the polka dot jersey as well.
With the way he’s been riding this season, and the fact that he’s on the team that has won the most races so far, I really like Alaphilippe to have a strong performance in the 2019 Tour de France. I believe he has a great chance at winning this jersey for the second straight year. My only concern is that his teammate Enric Mas Nicolau could be vying for the overall GC competition, which may require more of Alaphilippe’s assistance rather than allowing Julian to attack.
The points classification is the third oldest secondary competition of the Tour de France as it was introduced in 1953. This competition was created to attract the sprinters as it awards riders with points for winning stages and high place finishes. Since its inception, the leader of this competition has worn a green jersey except for one year when it was red. Erik Zabel and Peter Sagan are tied for the most green jersey competition wins with six. Sagan is attempting to break the tie by winning the seventh green jersey of his career.
Peter Sagan is a heavy favorite to win this competition. Before I predict whether or not he can win it, let’s take a look at a few cyclists that could give Sagan a run for his money:
Groenewegen is on one of my Top 5 teams for this year’s Tour de France in Jumbo-Visma. Although they don’t have Roglic, they still have a great blend of sprinters and climbers along with a GC contender in Steven Kruijswijk. Groenewegen has won three stages in the Tour de France for his career including two last year. This year, he comes in with some success during the Classics season.
Groenewegen has won multiple stages this season including two in Paris-Nice. Furthermore, he’s going to benefit from a great lead out train that includes Tony Martin. Groenewegen is fourth among sprinters in the standings heading into the Tour de France, but he has a great chance to beat out the best which include Kristoff and Viviani.
Matthews is the last cyclist to win the green jersey since Peter Sagan entered the Tour de France in 2012. And the only reason that Matthews won the jersey in 2017 is because Sagan was disqualified over a controversial collision with Mark Cavendish. To this day, nearly two years later, I still believe that race officials were dead wrong.
Nevertheless, Matthews is an intermediate sprinter that has his best success on hilly stages. He’s not going to outsprint the field on a flat stage, but he has the speed and power to contend with anyone on the hilly stages. Matthews has won three stages in the Tour de France, three stages in the Vuelta a Espana, and two stages in the Giro d’Italia. That’s a total of eight stage wins in Grand Tour racing.
For the season, Matthews has seen some modest success. He’s won a few stages this year and did capture the points jersey at the Volta a Catalunya.
If Sagan falters at all, and Matthews is on form, I expect the Australian to be a serious threat at winning this competition. The one concern for Matthews is that he’s been training all year to help his team captain Tom Dumoulin in the mountains and in the time trial. Unfortunately, Dumoulin is out of the Tour and Matthews might not be in top sprinting form for this event.
I really wanted to put one of my all-time favorite cyclists Mark Cavendish in this spot, but he was foolishly left off of the Dimension Data squad. So, I am going with Wout Van Aert (+3700) instead. Although he is on the same team as Dylan Groenewegen, Van Aert could be the fastest cyclist on the squad. Wout is making his Grand Tour debut after a solid Classics season that saw him recently win the points classification in the Criterium du Dauphine. He also finished on the podium at Strade Bianche and E3 BinckBank Classic.
Wout is a very fast sprinter and a strong time trialist. It will be exciting to see how he does on the sprint stages and how he works with his teammate Dylan Groenewegen.
Now that we got those cyclists out of the way, this jersey is all about Peter Sagan. Not only can he finish high in the pure sprint stages, but he hangs in the mountains, gets into breakaways to win intermediate green jersey points throughout a stage, and often finishes first on the hilly stages. Sagan does have three Tour de France stage wins on his resume.
This year, Sagan has had an up and down ride. He’s won some stages and even a few green jerseys in smaller stage races, but he has yet to win a race. He also failed to win the World Championships for the second straight year.
Although Sagan isn’t coming into the Tour de France at peak form, he is still the man to beat. Until someone can defeat Sagan without Peter pulling out of the race or being disqualified, I’m sticking with the man that I call the “rock star of cycling.”
Peter will win a record seventh green jersey competition and cement himself as one of the Tour’s greatest riders. With that said, a victory might come by the smallest of margins since his 2012 debut. Sagan’s previous smallest margin of victory came in 2015 when he won by 66 points. I can see Sagan winning this competition by less than 50 points due to the level of competition. Either way, Peter will return to his rock star ways by capturing a record setting points classification win.
The Tour de France’s yellow jersey, referred to as the “maillot jaune” in French, is the standard bearer for success in the sport. Since 1919, when the yellow jersey was first introduced, it has become the most coveted jersey in all of cycling, and it can only be worn when leading this Grand Tour. However, it’s the winner of the Tour de France that is considered the final winner of the yellow jersey also known as the general classification (GC).
There are four riders tied for the most Tour de France wins at five apiece. Chris Froome was looking to win his fifth Tour de France this year, but a terrible crash in mid-June has knocked him out of the Tour and possibly the rest of the season. Keep in mind, the sport has eliminated Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France wins from the record books.
According to online TDF betting sites, the following cyclists are odds-on favorites to win this year’s Tour de France:
Over the last two years, Egan Bernal has been touted as the “future star of cycling.” However, this year’s Tour de France might be a case where the “future” is now. At just 22 years old, Bernal has yet to lead a squad into a Grand Tour. His first chance at being the leader was this year’s 2019 Giro d’Italia, but Bernal suffered a fractured collarbone in a training crash and was off the team for the first Grand Tour of the year.
After a two-month hiatus, Bernal returned to racing and conquered the Tour de Suisse, which is one of the sport’s top lead-in races for the Tour de France. He was there to support teammate and leader Geraint Thomas, but last year’s TDF winner crashed out and Bernal was handed the reins. Egan didn’t disappoint once he took over as he finished second on Stage 6 and won Stage 7. Bernal would go on to capture both the GC and the Youth classification for the Tour de Suisse.
In addition to wining the Tour de Suisse, Bernal also won Paris-Nice, finished third at the Volta Catalunya, and was fourth in the Tour of Colombia. Egan’s 2019 season to date has set him up as a serious threat to win the Tour de France this month. Although he says that his main purpose is to support Thomas in the TDF, if Geraint falters in any way, then Bernal will be handed the reins once again.
Last year, Geraint Thomas surprised everyone with how strong he looked in the 2018 Tour de France. Not only did he ride well in the time trials, but he also put the hammer down in the mountains. In fact, Thomas was the Team Sky rider that kept pace with “the men of state” and not the pre-race favorite Chris Froome. Ultimately, Froome’s decline and Thomas’ impressive form opened the doors for Team Sky to hand the reins to Geraint, and he didn’t disappoint.
Heading into last year’s TDF, Thomas was in peak form as he had won the Criterium du Dauphine. This year, he was the favorite to win the Tour de Suisse, but ended up crashing out of the race. As mentioned, his departure from this race opened the door for Bernal to win it. After his crash, Thomas hasn’t had much time to prepare for the Tour de France. It’s this lack of preparation that have some critics and oddsmakers thinking that Thomas won’t be able to repeat as the winner. In my opinion, that’s rubbish!
Thomas’ crash wasn’t serious like Froome’s. In fact, Thomas quickly recovered and moved his attention toward the TDF. With a very strong team supporting him, and a route that doesn’t look too daunting for the defending champ, I expect Thomas to be a top contender for the GC competition by time it’s all said and done.
Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang could be the biggest beneficiary of an in-team feud between Thomas and Bernal. He comes in as the third odds-on favorite to win the Tour de France, but he’s had the best 2019 season out of any of the betting favorites.
After winning a regional stage race, Fuglsang stepped onto a bigger stage and finished second at the Strade Bianche. He followed that up with a third-place finish at Tirreno-Adriatico and also won a stage at this race. Fuglsang would then score a third at the Amstel Gold Race, second-place at La Fleche Wallonne and a strong victory at Liege-Bastogne.
Those results are more than enough to put Jakob at the top of the favorites, but then, he went on to win the Criterium du Dauphine a few weeks ago. This performance announced that Fuglsang is going to be a major player at the Tour de France as he’s in top form heading into the Grand Tour.
This will be the eighth TDF for Fuglsang with his previous best finish coming in 2013 when he was seventh. If he remains injury free, then I expect Fuglsang to compete for at least a podium finish. His team (Astana Pro) is built with the sole purpose to help Fuglsang win the Tour de France. Will they be strong enough to compete with other powerhouses like Team Ineos, Mitchelton-Scott, Movistar, and Jumbo-Visma?
The following cyclists offer solid betting value based on their previous Grand Tour success and their form heading into this year’s TDF.
Last year, Adam Yates didn’t have a good showing at the TDF. He was considered one of the GC contenders, but faltered in the mountains. It was a disappointing performance considering how great he looked in 2016 when Yates finished fourth overall. Adam skipped the TDF in 2017 and focused on the other two Grand Tours.
This year, Yates returns for his fourth Tour de France and is the leader of Mitchelton-Scott. He will have his brother Simon Yates as his top helper especially in the mountains. They also have Jack Haig, Daryl Impey, and Matteo Trentin to assist in supporting Adam’s quest for the yellow jersey.
I like the Yates brothers, and I think they can really make life difficult for the rest of the GC contenders this year, especially with several top riders out of action. At +1700, Yates offers solid value. If he can hang in the time trial and stay within striking distance in the mountains, Yates could be standing on top of the podium when the race reaches Paris on its final day.
Last year, Steven Kruijswijk finished fifth in the Tour de France just one spot behind his teammate Primoz Roglic. It was the highest finish of his four TDF appearances. This year, Kruijswijk is the sole leader of Jumbo-Visma, which means the team will be working only for him and not for Roglic who was left off the squad.
Kruijswijk has declared that his goal is to finish on the podium and to challenge for the yellow jersey. He has a strong team that should put him in a position to contend. My biggest question is whether or not last year was an anomaly for Kruijswijk or if he has truly evolved into one of the best GC contenders.
Vincenzo Nibali (+4400) is one of the best Grand Tour riders in all of cycling. He’s won all three of the Grand Tour races in his career including winning stages in each of these races. Nibali comes into his eighth Tour de France as the leader of Bahrain-Merida. He has a decent supporting cast, but has been rather sly about his ambitions this year.
Nibali says his main focus is on winning stages and not the TDF. He even mentioned the polka dot jersey as a potential goal. I don’t believe any of this. Nibali won the Tour de France in 2014 and hasn’t sniffed the podium since 2015. He didn’t finish last year, but looks to be in good form heading into this year’s TDF. Nibali finished second at the Giro D’Italia in May. So, don’t let his comments to the media fool you.
Nibali is a good time trialist and can hang in the mountains. He’s a contender for the podium and if a few breaks go his way, Nibali could become a two-time Tour de France winner.
Even without Chris Froome, Team Ineos is still the strongest squad of the peloton. I expect Thomas and Bernal to figure out on the road as to who will get the team’s full support. At the start, they will keep up this charade of co-leadership. But as long as neither man crashes and loses time, we should see things start to shake out at the individual time trial in Stage 13. The final week of the TDF is filled with four high mountain stages which should reveal to us who is the strongest.
Let’s start eliminating some of these so-called favorites and get down to the winner. Richie Porte hasn’t finished a TDF since 2016, and I don’t see him hanging in the mountains with Team Ineos, Mitchelton-Scott, or Movistar. Speaking of Movistar, I have my doubts about their three-headed monster approach of Quintana, Landa, and Valverde. Last year, this approach blew up in their faces. My concerns with Quintana is that he could be too far behind by the time they hit the final mountain stages due to the ITT.
I don’t see Kruijswijk outracing the Yates brothers or Team Ineos. Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet are France’s biggest hopes for winning the TDF, but they’re not on the same level as Bernal or Thomas. I believe this year’s Tour de France will come down to the co-leaders of Team Ineos, Adam Yates, and Jakob Fuglsang. I also believe three of these four riders will finish on the podium.
It’s difficult to pick the outright winner because we’re not sure what’s going to happen with Team Ineos out on the road. Whoever is the outright leader will win this race. But, whether it’s Bernal or Thomas, we just don’t know.
Team Ineos should be the strongest team once again, and I expect them to dictate the pace up the mountains like they always do. When it’s time for any high elevation showdowns, I believe both Bernal and Thomas will answer the call.
The safe play here is to split your wager and bet equally on Bernal and Thomas. Or, you can wait until things shake out more and place a wager on the rider who becomes the clear-cut leader. If I had to pick between Bernal and Thomas, I would go with Geraint for one more year. As long as he’s on form, Thomas will contend with the top rivals in the mountains and beat them in the time trial. He will also have the best domestique of them all in Bernal.
As you can see from above, it’s a tossup as to which Team Ineos rider will win the race. From there, it’s hard to tell whether or not the supporter (domestique) will still make the podium. The smart play here is to go with one Team Ineos rider, Yates, and Fuglsang to finish on the podium. I like how Fuglsang and Yates have been riding this year. Also, Yates has a strong team and Fuglsang has looked the best in 2019 so far.
Don’t be surprised if we get a repeat performance from last year when two of Team Sky’s riders finished on the podium. Bernal’s individual time trial will be key for that to happen.
This is the most unpredictable Tour de France since 2006, following Lance Armstrong’s seven consecutive victories. There are at least a half dozen riders that have the talent to win this year’s TDF. However, I believe the cloud of uncertainty will lift once the boys from Team Ineos implement their control over the peloton. Without Chris Froome, the team has gone from a certain victor to the most likely winner.
Even without the four-time Tour de France winner Froome, Team Ineos still has the best team of the field with workhorses like Michal Kwiatkowski, Wout Poels, and Luke Rowe. Then, you have two “co-leaders” with Egan Bernal and last year’s TDF winner Geraint Thomas. I believe Thomas will return in top form and that Bernal, at age 22, will be the good teammate and help Thomas win a second consecutive TDF. If Thomas falters at all, then Bernal has the talent to win this tournament himself.
No matter who wins, we should see a terrific bike race. With that said, there will be some sadness to get through as we watch our first Tour de France since 1986 without Paul Sherwen as a commentator. Rest in peace, Paul. You truly left the sport of cycling better than you found it. And thank you for three decades of sweet memories.
The following is a quick look at the 2019 Tour de France route:
|Stage||Date||TDF Stage Course||Type of Stage||Distance|
|1||July 6th||Brussels||Flat||192 km/ 119 mi|
|2||July 7th||Brussels||Team Time Trial||27 km/ 17 mi|
|3||July 8th||Binche to Epernay||Flat||214 km/ 133 mi|
|4||July 9th||Reims to Nancy||Flat||215 km/ 134 mi|
|5||July 10th||Saint-Die-des-Vosges to Colmar||Medium Mountain||169 km/ 105 mi|
|6||July 11th||Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles||Medium Mountain||157 km/ 98 mi|
|7||July 12th||Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saone||Flat||230 km/ 143 mi|
|8||July 13th||Macon to Saint-Etienne||Hilly||199 km/ 124 mi|
|9||July 14th||Saint-Etienne to Brioude||Med Mountain||170 km/ 106 mi|
|10||July 15th||Saint-Flour to Albi||Hilly||218 km/ 135 mi|
|July 16th||Rest Day|
|11||July 17th||Alibi to Toulouse||Flat||167 km/ 104 mi|
|12||July 18th||Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre||High Mountain||202 km/ 126 mi|
|13||July 19th||Pau||Individual Time Trial||27 km/ 17 mi|
|14||July 20th||Tarbes to Col du Tourmalet||High Mountain||117 km/ 73 mi|
|15||July 21st||Limoux to Foix||Med Mountain||185 km/ 115 mi|
|July 22nd||Rest Day|
|16||July 23rd||Nimes||Hilly||177 km/ 110 mi|
|17||July 24th||Pont du Gard to Gap||Med Mountain||206 km/ 128 mi|
|18||July 25th||Embrun to Valloire||High Mountain||207 km/ 129 mi|
|19||July 26th||Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes||High Mountain||200 km/ 124 mi|
|20||July 27th||Albertville to Val Thorens||High Mountain||31 km/ 19 mi|
|21||July 28th||Rambouillet to Paris and the Champs-Élysées||Flat||127 km/ 79 mi|
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