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Tour de France 2011: Stage 2 Betting

Stage 1 was expected to be a relatively uneventful stage where minimal time was likely to be lost. However, the inadvertent impact of a French spectator changed that in spectacular fashion. With around 10km to go, an Astana rider clipped a spectator on the side of the road and went down, taking a large number of riders with him and blocking the road. Whilst the majority of the leading contenders were ahead of the crash, one man who was caught behind the blockage was three-time champion, Alberto Contador.

Philippe Gilbert proved once again that seemingly anything he wants to win this season, he will win as he was able to ride away from first Fabian Cancellara, then Cadel Evans to win the first stage and take the yellow jersey. However, the major talking point is that Alberto Contador now finds himself 1’20 down on Gilbert, but more importantly, 1’14 down on the likes of Andy Schleck, Ivan Basso, Cadel Evans, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Horner.

Given that he will be expecting to lose further time to the Schlecks in the team time trial in Stage 2, he has a huge task in front of him now. It means that he will almost certainly have to attack in the mountains, which he has not had to do for several years now.

Stage 2 will be a team time trial around Les Essarts in the heart of the Vendée. It is only 23km and completely flat to prevent it having a disproportionate impact on the general classification. Some of the leader favourites will lose some time, but not so much that it will terminally hamper any hopes they may have.

HTC-Highroad will begin the stage as the favourites and showed their TTT credentials when they won the TTT in the Giro d’Italia earlier this year. They have several good team time triallers in Lars Ytting Bak, Bernhard Eisel backing up the excellent time-trialler, Tony Martin. It would be little surprise to see him in yellow come tomorrow evening.

Their major challengers are likely to be Team Garmin Cervelo. With the likes of David Millar, David Zabriskie and Tyler Farrar amongst their ranks, they have a very talented team and will fancy their chances of putting Thor Hushovd into the yellow jersey after the TTT.

Outside of those two clear favourites, the other teams potentially in contention are Radioshack, Team Sky and Team Leopard Trek.

Radioshack will be driven on by the talented quartet of Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Kloden, Chris Horner and Janez Brajkovic and will be looking to better their second placed finish back in the TTT in the Giro.

Team Sky have the former Giro time trial winner Bradley Wiggins leading their team, which also includes the talented young duo of Geraint Thomas and Edvald Boassen Hagen. If Wiggins can protect the weaker members of the team, he has the ability and pedigree to push the team forward for a potential podium place at the minimum.

Finally, Team Leopard Trek will be relying on one of the greatest time-triallers in recent times, Fabian Cancellara, to push their team forward. Combined with Linus Gerdemann, they are a potent duo and the Schlecks will be hoping they can put in a good showing and put additional time into Contador, whose team is relatively weak in this stage.

Two other possible outsiders who may fancy a shot at a top three finish in this stage are BMC and Omega Pharma Lotto. BMC will be looking to build on Cadel Evans’ impressive showing in the opening stage and he is a very good time-trialler, well backed up by the likes of Brent Bookwalter and George Hincapie. They are a long shot, but have been training hard in this discipline with the hopes of targeting this stage in particular.

Finally, Omega Pharma Lotto might fancy an outside shot at a decent showing here. Whilst they have no clear out-and-out time-triallers in their squad, they have a number of good solid riders, such as current leader, Philippe Gilbert, Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Andre Greipel. It will take a monumental effort to pull off a leading time, but they have been training hard and might fancy a shot, however at the odds, there is some value in taking them each way.


Team Garmin Cervelo to win @ 5/2 (Sky Bet)
Omega Pharma Lotto to win E/W @ 150/1 (Bet365)

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